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Goochland H.O.P.E. Garden

In late 2021, our organization introduced an initiative called “HOPE from the Garden” (HOPE stands for Helping Our Planet Endure).  Its purpose is to encourage gardeners to adopt practices that help keep our land healthy and support the life that depends on it, keep our waters clean and plentiful, and keep our air clean and unpolluted.

The initiative focuses on these specific activities:

Black Soil

Building and maintaining a healthy soil


Providing healthy wildlife habitats

A farmer is taking care of the rice patty

Minimizing the use of pesticides


Conserving water


Reducing lawn areas


Managing stormwater runoff

Fern Plant

Incorporating native pand eliminating invasive plants from our landscapes


Adopting gardening practices that contribute to clean air

Some may ask, “is it even possible to have an attractive landscape that adopts these practices?”  We believe the answer is “yes.” And so, in late Fall 2022, a team of GPMGA volunteers began installation of a “HOPE Garden” in a large, sunny, lawn area in front of the building housing the Goochland County Extension Office.


The main practices illustrated by the garden are:

  • Conversion of a lawn area into an ecologically beneficial garden using no-till gardening techniques.

  • Design of an attractive garden of native plants that provides value to wildlife and is pleasing to the eye.

  • Maintaining a garden without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and gasoline-powered equipment.

HOPE pict 1.jpg

In Fall 2022, garden installation began using a no-till, “lasagna garden” approach to start building a healthy soil. Twelve inches of chopped fall leaves and grass clippings were layered over sheets of cardboard, wet down, covered with a couple of inches of a compost-rich mulch, and left to break down over the winter months.

The garden was allowed to “cook” for approximately one year during which time the leaves decomposed into a nice, crumbly growing medium.  The garden was planted in the fall of 2023 with plants that are native to our region, are attractive in the home landscape, are deer resistant, and support the invertebrates, birds, and mammals that are so important to our local ecosystems. The design included trees, shrubs, and perennials selected to provide garden interest throughout the year.

HOPE pict 2.jpg
HOPE pict 3.jpg

The garden is laid out with pathways for up-close viewing of the plants.  Educational signage describing the plants and their benefits to our native ecosystem are planned, as are educational events and activities for homeowners.  You are welcome to visit the garden any time.  Master Graden volunteers work in the garden the first Wednesday morning of each month throughout the growing season and are happy to welcome you to the garden and to answer questions.

The Garden Plants



Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

Dogwood (Cornus florida 'Cherokee Princess')      

Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum)


Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)  

Winterberry (male) (Ilex verticillata ‘Southern Gentleman’)

Winterberry (female) (Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red')

Little Henry® Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Sprich')     

Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin) 

Blueberry  (Vaccinium 'Duke')


Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)       

Butterfly Weed  (Asclepias tuberosa)

Blue Wood Aster (Aster dumosus 'Wood's Purple' ) 

Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) 

White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata aka Aster divaricatus )

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium dubium 'Little Joe')      

Narrow-leaf Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa )

Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum incanum) Clustered Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum muticum)          

Narrow-leaf Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium 'Cat Springs’)     

Black-eyed Susan aka Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)        

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)  

Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora)   

Rough Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks')     

Aster 'Wood's Purple' (Symphyotrichum dumosum 'Wood's Purple')

The garden is in front of the Central High School Cultural and Educational Center at 2748 Dogtown Rd, Goochland, VA 23063

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