According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
In 2011, the “contributions and achievements of American workers” are
often much different than they were in 1882, when the holiday was first
celebrated. Now, more and more companies are doing their part to help
make the planet a better place, not just by contributing money, but by
going outside and “getting dirty” in an effort to help make a positive
There are many companies that go “over and above” to contribute to
the well-being of the Metro DC area. But because this is a “green”
garden blog, I decided to talk about the garden project initiated by D&R International of Silver Spring Maryland, an environmental consulting firm that serves businesses, government, and nonprofits.
In June 2010, to mark their 25th anniversary in business, D&R
contacted the Montgomery County Department of Parks with their idea to
create a demonstration Xeriscape garden in the park across from their
office. Their idea was not only to create a more environmentally
friendly garden, but to use it as a way to help teach and inspire
Located at the corner of Spring Street and Georgia Avenue, the
gateway to the Silver Spring business district, the planned Xeriscape
Demonstration Garden at Woodside Urban Park would serve as a teaching
tool for educators, school groups and the general public. Xeriscape
gardening is a wonderful way to protect the planet because it requires
less water and is an environmentally sensitive approach to gardening in
the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
For five months, D&R worked closely with the Parks Development
Division on garden layout, plant selection, and other details. On
October 30, 2010, D&R staff and their families joined members of the
Parks Department and other Woodside neighbors to plant over 500 low
maintenance, drought-tolerant, native plants and shrubs. The resulting
1,200-square-foot garden now features a wide array of native species
that require little water, no pesticides or fertilizers, attract
wildlife, and beautify this small corner of the world. Bray &
Scarff, a local kitchen and appliance retailer, provided financial
support for the project. GreenLink, a local landscape company, donated
On May 24, 2011, D&R held a dedication ceremony for the garden,
which is the first government-business volunteer garden project in
Montgomery County. Speakers included Montgomery County Department of
Parks Director Mary Bradford, Montgomery County Department of Recreation
Director Gabriel Albornoz, and Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin.
“The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at Woodside Urban Park is a
living symbol of how cultivating change together can create a more
beautiful environment and a healthier community,” said D&R President
David Steiner. “This project allows us to connect to the local
community and highlight the importance of resource conservation on a
larger scale. We also hope this effort will serve as a model for other
companies looking to give back to the community.”
Senator Raskin also commented about the value of companies partnering
with government. “In cultivating this magnificent garden, D&R is
turning back to the community to make it more beautiful, more green, and
more peaceful. This is a model of what a real public-private
partnership should be.”
After the first year, the plants will require very little water,
which is appropriate for a region that experiences frequent droughts.
D&R planted the garden, developed educational signage, and will
provide ongoing maintenance. Most of the maintenance for the
Demonstration Garden is weeding, which D&R staff carry out on their
lunch hours or before work about once a week. Less weeding will be
required next year as the garden fills in.
This Friday, September 9th, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a tour of
D&R’s demonstration Xeriscape garden. Landscape Architect Ching-Fang
Chen will be on hand to talk about xeriscaping techniques, including
plant selection, garden design, and maintenance. The tour is sponsored
by D&R International.
Why not stop by and say thank you to some of the people that are
helping to make the area a little more environmentally friendly. Perhaps
their labor of love will help to inspire one of your own.
To attend, RSVP to Susan Conbere at email@example.com. To learn more about the garden, you can visit their Facebook page, here.