Local gardening legend, former television show host and aspiring blogger Peg Bier welcomed us to the constantly evolving two and a half acre garden paradise she and her family have called home since 1959. She readily credits the help of her four children and 12 grandchildren in being able to keep the bountiful beds, borders and overabundance of container gardens tended and watered. Then a full-time employee at local nursery, Merrifield’s Garden Center, she was the obvious choice to co-host the local cable TV call-in gardening show, Merrifield’s Gardening Advisor, which aired on Saturday mornings for over 25 years from 1990 until 2015. Check out the archived shows on You Tube by entering Merrifield Gardening Advisor in the search box! Her common sense advice and seasonal topics are timeless. No longer in her seventies, she has retired from television but remains a part-time Merrifield’s employee and a fixture in the Fairfax County, Virginia gardening community.
I feel sure that, in its youth, the Bier home and garden in Tyson’s Corner were surrounded by rolling farmland. Modern day development has grown right up to its property lines and Peg now gardens her acreage right in the middle of a neighborhood of well cared for homes. The riotous roadside garden filled with all manner of plants is the first hint that this garden is a bit different from its more restrained neighbors.
In Peg’s own words, “It is not the wow factor but the smile when some small discovery is made.”
Before we even get off the roadside I see that there are small vignettes and dish gardens tuck into the garden here and there. Many are so subtle you really have to be looking for them!
The first view of the family home–the elevation change is the perfect set-up for sunny raised beds viewed perfectly from the front porch.
Peg’s garden weaves in and out of sun and shade offering good growing conditions for a wide variety of perennial, shrubs and trees.
Peg shared that all the maples in the garden were propagated by her. Her home seems to grow right out of the garden, softened on all sides by greens, golds and burgundy.
The home’s main outdoor dining area, complete with seating for the whole family, is barely visible until you actually climb the few stairs to the patio.
This timber framed sunken patio offers shady respite and another opportunity for built in raised beds.
There are sun plants…
And shade plants..beautiful hostas on parade, big and small!
Comfy, resting and reading spots appear as you round curved paths–this one themed with red-orange blooms and bright blue garden accents.
This green roadway parallels a small riverbed and took me to Peg’s veggie garden.
Completely fenced to foil the deer, veggies are grown in and amongst flowers and small accent shrubs.
Above and below dish gardens planted with small scale shrubs nestle among carefully curated garden accent pieces.
Peg Bier’s garden is truly full of small discoveries but there is no absence of wow factor here either. My impression is that of a “gardener’s garden”–plantings are relaxed and re-seeders just go where they please, her less than perfect lawn reflects her commitment to organic gardening and I believe she will find a home for any plant she to which she takes a fancy. Her garden mirrors her personality and is a fitting legacy of the almost 60 years of devotion.
3 thoughts on “Merrifield’s Gardening Advisor…”
You captured Peg’s garden perfectly!
I wish I had spent some time researching Peg before Fling. I guess there are east coast peeps who are unaware of some of our garden icons out here, i.e Sean Hogan, Roger Raiche, Annie Hayes,etc. So clearly a family garden here, with so many layers of history.
Check out a couple of the YouTube videos of the show! Such enthusiasm and wit.