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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Extensive vandalism at community garden plots in Annandale

Fencing destroyed at the Bo White Community Gardens.
There has been extensive vandalism at the Bo White Community Gardens in Pine Ridge Park in Annandale in recent days. One gardener reports that about 50 of the 160 garden plots were vandalized in two separate incidents – late on the night of Jan. 22 or in the early hours of Jan. 23, and again on Jan. 29 or 30.

The gardener, who doesn’t want his name published, says someone kicked in a wooden door on his garden plot, smashed ceramic garden gnomes and a ceramic sign, and destroyed plastic pots. The damage is estimated at $300.

A broken gate.
He reported it to the police and also notified Pam Smith, the supervisor of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s community gardening program, which is based at Green Spring Gardens

Smith has scheduled a meeting for all the Bo White gardeners for Feb. 10 to discuss the vandalism; explain the roles of the Park Authority, Police Department, and gardeners; and develop strategies for strengthening security.

The gardener who complained about the vandalism would like to see the police cruise by occasionally. There’s been vandalism there before, but the recent incidents are a lot worse, he says.

Most gardeners don’t mind sharing some of their crops with homeless people, he says, but there have been instances of  people treating the gardens “like a grocery store without a cash register at the end.”His backyard at Holmes Run Acres is too shady for gardening, so he’s been growing tomatoes, squash, eggplants, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, and lettuce at the Bo White Gardens for the past four or five years.

When he started, it cost $65 a year to rent a 20 by 30-foot garden plot. Now it’s $125. “I’m not sure if the cost and work is worth it if the county isn’t going to provide security,” he says. “It’s really frustrating.” 

Smashed pots and accessories.


  1. People taking too much food is one thing, but smashing a garden up??? Who does that. :-(

  2. Not too many yrs ago an effort was made to have a Park Watch...similar to the Neighborhood Watch a way of helping put a stop to such vandalism, dogs running off-leash in parks, etc. Maybe it's time for all to consider volunteering to help with this AGAIN!

  3. There is a "park watch" sign at the Bo White Gardens but the program appears to be inactive.

  4. how about a metal fence boxed in with a german shepard in the premise. Wood gates and fence is not going to cut it.

  5. There are many different type of gates and fences in use, with a primary use of metal fencing and a good number of metal or chain link gates. The vandalism did not spare metal materials. Wish we could arrange for solar-powered electric fencing! Dogs, though, are not allowed. Bummer.

  6. I say put remote surveillance cameras around the site and then send the vandals back to sender. Perhaps use them as fertilizer.

  7. Sadly, the park watch program did not survive due to lack of volunteers willing to give some time. Maybe now that "issues" are again arising, others will see the need to think otherwise.

  8. February 2016 update ....
    leaving the FFX Co Park Authority Garden Plot program. the costs keep rising. there have been no improvements to conditions. the coordinator and park hiarchi do nothing about suggestions and complaints; nor do the police. unfortunately, i am taking my $$$ to the farmers market or the organic section of the grocery store. less frustration and less conflict with those who do nothing but collect a check.