If you’re looking for something great to do in the Fairfax Country area this summer — whether it be to get the kids out of the house, to have a unique day date, or just to enjoy nature somewhere other than your own backyard, you should know about Green Spring Gardens.
Green Spring Gardens is a public park (and more!) that sits on 31 acres at 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, Virginia. While this hidden oasis of natural wonder and amazing horticultural resource also has demonstration gardens, a library, ponds, paths, and a historic house built in 1780, it’s also open daily without charge. That’s right — this gem is free!
Green Spring Gardens gets its name from the historic 18th-century estate house “Green Spring.” The Fairfax County Park Authority operates Green Spring with the assistance of various nonprofit organizations.
Many come here just to wander the gardens. While Green Spring Gardens is a great place to appreciate the beautiful flowers and plants, walking paths, pleasant ponds, and creeks throughout, the gardens are also a treasure trove for those looking to get inspiration for their own gardens. There are scenes to delight the senses. And for the home gardening enthusiast, the possibility for new ideas from Green Spring Gardens’ demonstration gardens, including a kitchen garden, fruit garden, wildflower garden, and rock garden, are almost endless.
You may want to just wander about with the delicious smell of flowers wafting through the air. But if you’d rather organize a more structured visit, make sure to stop by the Green Springs Horticulture Center/Visitors Center before you start exploring. Here you’ll find a map of the entire venue, including the gardens, nature trails, ponds, fountains, and historic manor house.
Inside the Horticulture Center, you’ll also find a sizable plant and herb library, a shop, art exhibits, and information on upcoming programs at the Center. There are many informative talks and garden-club-style meetings. The shops also sell a variety of items, from gardening tools and decorative items to personal accessories and gifts.
When you are ready to explore around, keep in mind that the gardens are arranged by theme, which is why they make such great demonstration gardens for the home gardener.
In addition to gardens, Green Spring Gardens also boasts a large grass field perfect for picnics, kite flying, or other activities. There are two small ornamental ponds loaded with fish and turtles; nature trails, and a beautiful whitewashed gazebo. The overall picturesque setting is equally ideal for a tranquil afternoon, a photography session, or perhaps even an intimate wedding!
And while a lot of people go to Green Spring Gardens to enjoy everything outdoors, we suggest you try to visit when the historic Manor House is open. Originally built in1784, John Moss built the square, two-story Georgian brick house, which then sat on 540 acres of farmland. A succession of long-term owners held the property until 1970 when the house and 18 acres were conveyed to the Fairfax County Park Authority. Over the years, the county has added additional acreage to make up the present-day 31 acres of Green Spring Gardens.
Inside the Manor House, you can explore the downstairs rooms of the house and visit the shop and tea room, where the Fairfax County Park Authority hosts programs with full English tea throughout the year. (You can also schedule private teas and tasting parties at the Manor House for special occasions.)
The park is accessible for the mobility-challenged and it is dog friendly as well.
This beautiful hidden gem right in our backyard is one of the highlights of living in the Northern Virginia area. If you’re looking to call Springfield, Burke, or a neighboring area home, let LIST WITH ELIZABETH® help you find a perfect place, suited to your family and near things you want to do and experience.