Longtime garden center blossoms anew as “The Garden Plot”


Credit: The Garden Plot

For years, the supersized watering can has been a recognizable landmark along Richmond Highway for the Holly Woods and Vines Garden Center. Now, the business — under new ownership since January 2022 — is relaunching as “The Garden Plot” and is stocking up to serve customers during the busy growing season.

Two former Holly Woods and Vines employees teamed up last year to purchase the garden center when longtime owners Vanessa Wheeler and John Johnson decided to sell. Terri Draheim, who previously worked at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and as a horticulturist for 14 years at the Mount Vernon Country Club, started working in a part-time capacity at Holly Woods and Vines last year. There, she met tree and shrub manager Rick Roberts, who previously had worked at Meadows Farms, and the two plant lovers decided to go into business together.

While many of the products and services that The Garden Plot provides will remain the same, there will be some notable additions, like more houseplants and specialty items like carnivorous plants, bonsai and orchids. Composting worms are scheduled for delivery in mid-April, said Roberts, and he also is looking into selling beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic worms used for soil pest control.

“We want to sell plants and materials that people are actually looking for,” said Draheim who enthusiastically showed off her new “frou-frou room” featuring floral art, aprons, vases, bee houses and many other specialty items.

At the same time that the garden center owners are building up new inventory, they also are preparing to discount and sell older inventory, including plants, in what Draheim calls their “scratch and dent section.” Their first big sale will take place in about two weeks, she said, and will include deep discounts on some of Holly Woods and Vines’ remaining inventory, like topiaries and individual trees.

The Garden Plot has become the new home to Draheim’s four chickens, which reside in a coop at the far end of the property. While they will not be wandering among the clientele, the chickens – Chip, Dale, Elvira and Mr. Big Head Squinty Eyes – will provide an interesting viewing opportunity for younger visitors.

Resident chickens at The Garden Plot

Draheim and Roberts recently launched the new website for The Garden Plot, as well as a social media presence. New storefront signage and a paint job for the building are in the plans for coming months. Eventually, the store may begin to offer plant-related workshops for the community. The business is also looking for plant lovers with flexible schedules to join the team.

While the garden center presently is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, Draheim said that will change next month when it’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The business will continue to accept gift cards and valid warranties for items purchased at Holly Woods and Vines.

The Garden Plot is located at 8453 Richmond Highway in Alexandria.

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