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Evans Home Garden

The Evans Home for Children is a group home for children in downtown Winchester, VA. It offers shelter, safety and love to children who have suffered abuse, neglect or homelessness. Currently 15 children between the ages of 8 and 17 live there. The Apple Valley Garden Club established and continues to maintain flower, herb, and vegetable gardens for the Evans Home residents. As part of the project, the children are educated on the topics of plant identification and uses, organic gardening, composting, and environmental awareness so that they understand where the food on their plates comes from. To learn more about the Evan's home, visit their website:
This project is a huge undertaking that is resulting in a great partnership between our club and the Evans Home. We love to have the children come out and lend a hand, and we teach them what we know about gardening along the way. As part of the project we are putting together an Herb Identification Guide (click to see samples) and a Garden Recipes Cookbook for the children so that they know how to make something delicious from the food they are growing in their back yard.
Due to its large scale, this project is a constant work in progress. See below for the latest updates or start here to see events in chronological order. If you are interested in volunteering to help with the Evans Home for Children Garden or making a donation to support it, please contact Ann Wallinger at 540.667.9901.
Latest Progress:
  • 2009: Summer into Fall
    • Summer - What a great year in the garden. The Evans Home has been able to enjoy several homemade meals, a few prepared by our own hands, using fresh veggies and herbs from the garden. The tomatoes were fabulous this year, and we got loads of big white potatoes as well. Garlic, peppers, cucumbers, squash, take a look for yourself.
    • Fall - Coming Soon
  • 2009: Spring
    • June - Great news! The Annual Convention for garden clubs across the nation was just held in Houston Texas and much to our suprise and enjoyment, the following awards were announced:
      • Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. - 1st place in Environmental Education
      • Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. - Standards of Excellence Award
      • Shenandoah District - Southern Atlantic Region 2nd place award for Environmental Education
      • National Garden Clubs Inc., Overall Winner for Environmental Education, receiving the Jesse M. Conor Award. This award was associated with a $100 gift from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.
    • May - It is that fabulous time of year when it isn't too cold and it isn't too hot and the last frost has finally passed. You know what that means, it is time to Plant the Garden for a 2009 harvest!
    • April - Have you ever seen 'Flip that House' on television? Well we Flipped that Playhouse
    • March - We went out to get the early season plants in the ground. The turnips from the fall are coming up and looking like they will be good to eat soon. We added carrots, radishes, onion sets, lettuce, spinach, chard, and potatoes. 
  • 2008: Winter
    • February - Time to start some seeds! We visited several times and showed the children how to start plants from seed. They have tomatoes, peppers and herbs growing in their windowsills.
    • December - It's Christmas in the Garden! We stopped by the home for the holidays and delivered some wonderfully colorful, fun and functional plant supports for the vegetable garden. Thanks to the Gardener's Supply Company which gives us a great discount on all our items for the Evans Home.
    • December - Exciting news: we've been published! We had a reporter visit us on our day of Finished for the Fall and the article she wrote finally made it to print. You can view it online (click STORY to see the full story). In addition to the story detailing our project with the Evans Home, another article was also printed regarding the preparations necessary to get your garden ready for its winter rest.
  • 2008: Fall
    • November - We took the kids out on a brisk fall day and planted some garlic and turnips. The garlic will grow all winter and be ready for harvesting in the late summer next year. Turnips make a good ground cover and will be ready for eating in the early spring.
    • October - We went out with a bank this season and we are Finished for the Fall. Thanks to some help from the Young Marines, our garden is ready to be planted in the spring.
    • October - Some friends of the Garden Club joined in for a day of Picking up Sticks. The garden is now cleared and fenced.
  • 2008: Summer
    • July - We had to call in The Big Scoop. There were just too many roots and rocks to get out of the garden. Thank you so much Michael Steere!
    • June - We've been busy with the backbreaking work of Clearing the Brush for next year's bigger and better veggie garden. What a job!
  • 2008: Spring
    • June - Walk through A Summer Garden to see what we did with the limited and temporary space allocated to the garden this summer. We'll be clearing ground for next year while the children become familiar with a few favorite veggies and herbs.
    • May - Check out At The Beginning to see what the grounds looked like at the beginning of the project before any work was done. Inviting just isn't the right word!
This project is turning out to be one of our best so far. It is so rewarding to show up and hear the children tell us about the chives they cut for their potatoes, and the mint they put in their tea. It has also been a great opportunity for the community to pitch in and help out, and they have. Thanks to all of the organizations who have donated supplies for the garden! We couldn't do it without your support.
Ann Harrison Wallinger,
Jun 2, 2008, 8:47 PM