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Posted April 16, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Area's newest greenhouse a source of supplies, advice

Lynne Phillips, manager of the new business Natural Art Garden Center, checks the inventory of the nursery stock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Scott Edmondson, owner of Natural Art Garden Center in Toms Brook, checks the progress of his sedum on the living roof of the new business. Rich Cooley/Daily

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By Mariann Hughes - mhughes@nvdaily.com

TOMS BROOK -- You may be tempted to succumb to the popular urge to "go green" with a garden, especially as warmer weather is peeking around the corner, but if the thought of starting one is intimidating, look no further than Toms Brook.

Scott Edmondson and Lynne Phillips, the owner and manager of the brand-new business, Natural Art Garden Center, on Old Valley Pike, are seasoned pros when it comes to plants, trees, shrubs, landscaping and hardscaping. Their greenhouse will be a one-stop shop for garden needs -- both for the merchandise and the advice.

"We don't know everything, nobody does," Edmondson said. "But if we don't know something, I know how to find out and get that information and tell [the customer]."

Boasting more than 20 years of landscaping and hardscaping prowess with his company C&S Landscaping -- he started it in 1987 -- Edmondson is hoping to geographically merge the two businesses next year to offer customers a more complete view of what he has to offer.

"They will be able to come here and see stuff because right now I travel to them and bring them samples," Edmondson said.

"And then [when they come here] they might see something they like that I didn't think they would like."

Edmondson has a well-rounded gardening resume, including being a Virginia-certified horticulturist, a Class-A contractor, and a Virginia Commercial Pesticide Applicator. Phillips ran an orchard for five years.

Meanwhile, their new venture this year is to offer a wealth of plants, both vegetables and flowers, trees and shrubs, as well as seeds and bagged goods at Natural Art Garden Center for both the experienced and the inexperienced gardener.

Edmondson and Phillips started building the greenhouse around Thanksgiving. While they are already open for business, they hope to celebrate a grand opening in early May.

They built the structure themselves, and, although still in the early stages, the structure and the surrounding area already show traces of the talent of Edmondson and Phillips and their crew.

A section of the roof over their office building boasts a multi-layered, specially engineered "living roof" -- a mat of sedum (small, drought-tolerant plants) growing in a "media layer," a soil-like substance. The result is a velvety carpet on top of their building that, according to Edmondson, keeps the building well-insulated in both winter and summer, reduces runoff and captures 70 percent of the rainfall. This "living roof" can be recreated for customers and is, of course, extremely environmentally friendly.

If Natural Art Garden Center doesn't carry the plant, tree or shrub the customer is looking for, the greenhouse will special order it. No matter what horticultural experience the customer is seeking, the crew will walk with them each step of the way, from helping plot a design for a garden, to delivering and planting. Staff also will offer knowledge and tips on flora to planning out an orchard, from offering advice on the best types of plants for a yard to adding the finishing touches with some lovely hardscaping.

Customers who are intimidated by the thought of growing a garden need not worry about the soundness of the advice they will receive at Natural Art Garden Center. Customer service is crucial to Edmondson and Phillips, and they show their enthusiasm for their work by giving excellent assistance. Not only are they themselves immersed in the plant world, they are careful to only hire workers who can help even those customers who are just stepping into the world of gardening. Their love of the outdoors is apparent in their animated conversation and the abundant plant life they good-naturedly admit is taking over even their home.

"His nickname is 'Tree-Hugger,'" said Phillips laughingly of Edmondson.

Edmondson has won a variety of awards for his landscaping and hardscaping. His latest success was an "outdoor kitchen" which won first place in Design/Insulation for Keep Virginia Beautiful. He has built trellises, patios, outdoor kitchens, brick walks, water gardens and much more. He can install outdoor lighting. He can create a pond in a backyard, or build a small one for a deck.

"The end product is all that matters," Phillips said of their work. "Usually we exceed expectations."

"That's what 80 percent of our customers tell us," Edmondson added.

The greenhouse is located at 27358 Old Valley Pike. For more information, contact the Natural Art Garden Center at 436-3130 or visit Edmondson's landscaping Web site at www.cslandscaping.com.

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