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Potomac Valley Rock Garden Society

The Potomac Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society – NARGS for short – started in 1965 with a handful of members who were generous in sharing both plants and know-how. Membership now includes gardeners from neophytes to professional horticulturists and botanists from various government agencies.

The Society’s goal is to educate themselves and the general public about plants that can be grown in the mid-Atlantic area, especially those plants that are suitable for the rockery. While this climate doesn’t favor the more conventional ‘alpine’ type of rock garden, members of this Society have demonstrated that gardening with some alpine and sub-alpine plants is feasible, given the right conditions. Although some members have outstanding rock gardens and grow plants less than a foot tall, many members grow their “wee plants” in conventional rockeries, woodland gardens or troughs.

New York Times garden writer Anne Raver after speaking to the Potomac Valley NARGS at Brookside Gardens this year.


The Society holds bi-monthly events at various locations in the greater Washington DC area that feature outside speakers, member slide shows, plant exchanges, workshops, excursions, plant sales, and a summer picnic.  Still coming up in 2011:

  • May 21 –  Members’ plant exchange hosted by Patricia Goins
  • June (TBD) members picnic OR a series of members’ garden visits.
  • Thursday, September 22, NARGS Eastern Speaker, John Grimshaw, “An Ethiopian Adventure: A journey to the Bale Mountains with the Alpine Garden Society” Location TBD.
  • September (Date TBD) Members’ Plant Exchange hosted by Lynn Blei, Potomac, MD
  • September 22,  John Grimshaw presents “An Ethiopian Adventure: A Journey to the Bale Mountains with the Alpine Garden Society”.  Location TBD.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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