Monday, July 23, 2012

In the News: Camelot's Big Entrance

Camelot in the News!

"Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program (NEPP) is about inspiring a sense of community," said Chris Scales, regional manager for Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services.... " wrote Kali Schumitz of the Fairfax Times.

"That certainly has been the case in Annandale’s Camelot community, which obtained a NEPP grant to install a demonstration rain garden in the median of the main drag, King Arthur Road," she continues. 

The article describes successful NEPP projects - begun by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2008 since then funding gardens, paths, picnics, trees, and playgrounds.  One NEPP project in the  Shannon Station neighborhood and its matched $5,000 grant launched a community garden in 2009, hired a garden manager, and still going strong. Camelot shines among these happy, successful communities.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Camelot Launch: The Movie

Our Man in the Field, Chuck Dennis, explains what the Camelot Entrance Project is all about.  Chuck wrote the winning Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program (NEPP) grant. Fairfax County supplies matching $1000 to organizations and neighborhood associations to enhance the beauty, safety, and environmental health of their communities. To apply for your grant, go here:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Meeting in the Median: Camelot Votes for Garden Design

On a sunny Saturday morning in early June, Camelot residents, several children, and two dogs, stopped by the Camelot's King Arthur Road Entrance talk, drink lemonade, have a slice of watermelon, and choose from among three landscape designs submitted for the new Entrance Garden design. The Garden Project has begun.

Following the theme of storm water capturing and demonstrating the handsome and clever use of native plants, garden designs were submitted by Merrifield Gardens' landscape designer, Jonathan Stromfeld, Nature by Design in Alexandria, and landscape architect, Mantua neighbor, and Friend of Accontink Creek, Suzy Foster. Of twenty-two votes: 13 (57.2%) preferred Merrifield's "Re-Use is Good Use," "6 (26.4%) votes went to Suzy Foster's "Winding Wetlands," and 3 (13%) votes liked Nature by Designs' "Pretty Wild".   
 Andres, Lily's husband and a water resources engineer,  played the guitar and sang 
charming bossa-novas perfect to vote by
   Written on the voting slips, additional comments were made including: "Make sure drivers can see around that giant holly so they don't run me over when I'm walking the dog," and "Make sure the guys who mow the grass know what they're supposed to not mow," and "I like the watershed-friendly part of all of these choices. Grass is like pavement." 

In the grassy median at Little River Turnpike on one of the first really warm mornings of summer, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Soil and Water Conservation District Education Coordinator, Lily Whitesell, was on-hand for water conservation and management insight. Lily's husband, Andres, played the guitar and sang charming bossa-novas perfect to vote by, and Mason District Supervisor, Penny Gross, stopped by to extend her support. "Always happy to help Camelot," said Gross.

This autumn, the Entrance Garden will be revamped according to the chosen design in a community effort funded by a Fairfax County Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program matching grant. Liz Kirchner, who, with Chuck Dennis, is spearheading the effort says, "Installing small trees, tidying giant hollies, and strewing existing daylilies and azaleas throughout the newly chosen Merrifield design will be a perfect community service project for scouts, students, and neighbors: physically challenging, civically responsive, and environmentally significant." 
To participate by gardening or documenting the effort, call Liz at 703 909-0191.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Camelot, Where We Live: More Than Houses

Camelot is a tall-tree-and-azalea neighborhood. Its main street is King Arthur Road, which crosses the Accotink Creek. Our houses line the Accotink Stream Valley. Water that falls on our roofs, washes across our yards, down our driveways, and down King Arthur Road, sluices into the creek.

King Arthur Road links Little River Turnpike and Gallows Road.

Camelot's place names are Broadway kitsch and Kennedy-era optimism. You can't tell people where you live without saying, "Cam-e-LOT" and looking away to a pearly horizon, your chain-mail gleaming, and your horse stomping.

Bulldozed out of pine woods in 1961, when the Beltway was a muddy gulch, the cherry trees planted along King Arthur Road, pooling up in Druid Way and Ector Court link us to the history, culture, and suave mid-century internationalism of Washington, DC. Every house was allotted a gas lantern - some electric now, some dark protesting war or global warming. Most houses sport chunks of unbudgable, much-coveted native quartz. Children walk to Camelot Elementary School along Saxony Drive. Lancelot Way curves up a hill house backed by old woods to Pine Ridge Park, its baseball and soccer fields and community gardens - once an African American community taken by imminent domain for a segregated school that was never built. On spring evenings, neighbors, their dogs winding around their legs, talk on the corner with baseball games cheering and baseball bat clonging and lights from the soccer field rising up over them.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Annandale's Camelot: Green Community is Strong Community

Camelot is an azalea-and-dogwood woodland neighborhood in Annandale, Virginia. This spring, with a $1000 matching grant from Fairfax County's Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program, we're re-vamping our fescue and giant-wall-of-barberry median strip at Little River Turnpike into a water-smart, design-savvy Entrance Garden demonstrating how to cultivate native plants, handsome garden design, and community spirit.