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Best of Arlington 2014


Best Nursery/Garden Center

Merrifield Garden Center

Merrifield Garden Center opened its doors as a family business in 1971. And with 32 members of the founding Williams and Warhurst clans working at its three locations today, it still is.

“Our emphasis has always been on quality, selection and service,” says manager Kevin Warhurst, the son of co-founder Bob Warhurst. The original nursery, at the corner of Lee Highway and Gallows Road, started with less than an acre of plants; today it boasts nine acres, plus another 4.5 acres of storage and landscaping space across the street. (The business also has 38 acres in Manassas and 40 in Gainesville.)

Today, customers can choose from 2,000 shrub varieties and 5,500 types of annuals and perennials. “They have a really great selection of unusual plants, such as astilbe hybrids or heuchera,” says Bluemont resident Julie Smith, who works part time for Design Décor, a landscape design business. She also picks the yearly plantings for Dominion Hills Pool.

Got a seemingly impossible landscaping dilemma? In recent years, the crew has met challenges ranging from hoisting planters onto a roof garden (via crane) to importing palm trees for a filming of HBO’s VEEP.

Plagued by pesky weeds? The plant diagnostic clinic looks at weed samples to devise an attack plan and offers seminars on lawn alternatives. Also, for 22 years, the nursery’s Merrifield’s Gardening Advisor TV show has run on Saturday mornings on NewsChannel 8, offering advice to local gardeners.

And if plant shopping makes you hungry, there’s even a café on-site. How about a little spring quinoa salad with your spiral boxwood? –A.B.W.

8132 Lee Highway, Merrifield, 703-560-6222, www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

Other top vote-getters:

Meadow Farms Nurseries
Sam’s Farm
Bill’s True Value Garden Center