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La Bella Strada – An Italian Chalk Art Festival

On Saturday, May 12th come on down to Mount Vernon Avenue to view and create some vibrant chalk art. The third annual La Bella Strada Street Painting Festival will bring artists from around the region to create masterpieces up and down the Avenue.  The event is modeled after an ancient Italian art form.

It is a great way to meet with friends and observe the vibrant colors!  We just hope it doesn’t rain! (The rain date is Sunday, May 13th.)

All proceeds from the event will help fund the creation of an outdoor garden, play space, and education programs for The Del Ray Montessori School. A $100(or more) tax-deductible donation gets you your very own 5 x 5 foot square on Mount Vernon Avenue and artist-grade chalk.

Click here for more information including a list of artists who will be in attendance.

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Events, House

2018 House and Garden Tour

The 2018 House and Garden Tour will be Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:00am- 5:00pm.  The event is self-guided and will go on rain or shine.  You should start at Nectar Del Ray (106 Hume Ave) to pick up a tour brochure and wristband that will serve as your entrance pass to the homes on the tour.

The Del Ray Citizens Association event serves as a fundraiser for Alexandria neighborhood projects.  This year all proceeds will benefit the Nancy Dunning Memorial Garden and the Del Ray Gateway Project.

The 12 homes on this year’s tour range from a row house renovation to a single family new construction and more.  Walk through the city to see an old farmhouse renovated for a young family, an open concept home with an inspiring art collection, and a catalog home built in 1917 and sold for $1,396.50.

Get inspired by the work of local architects, builders, and interior designers.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at a reduced price by DRCA members at the May membership meeting. Click here to purchase tickets.

You can also volunteer for a shift as a docent at one of the homes and receive a free ticket.

Events, Uncategorized

The Bees & the Birds of Monticello Park

As we mentioned in a previous blog, Ashley Bradford and Bill Young have created the website MPNature to help people learn about and enjoy the nature at Monticello Park.  The website is designed so that visitors can know what to look for before visiting the park and can understand what they are seeing once they get there.

This past weekend Ashley saw a swarm on a tree with two or three thousand honeybees.  YIKES!

Ashley contacted the Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association, and they sent Kathryn Krenn out to “round up the girls.”  (Kathryn was allowed to keep the bees she collected.)  To collect a swarm of bees you have to find the queen.  If she is captured and put into a box, all of the other bees will want to follow.  But she can be hard to identify as she looks a bit different from the other bees, but not so different that she stands out in a group of thousands of bees.  Kathryn had to scrape some of bees onto frames that she brought.  She then put the frames into a box and repeated this process many times until she was successful.  Thank you Kathryn!
It appears that a local beekeeper was careless and lost a swarm.

In bird news, Bill Young reported that the House Wrens are arriving.  He also saw a Winter Wren who should be leaving soon and heard a thrasher singing.

As we enter the fourth week of April, if you visit the park you should start seeing some migrants coming.
If you would like to join Laurel Conger and the birders to celebrate the park call Laurel at 703-577-6899 for details on an upcoming event.
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Northern Virginia Native Plant Sale



The sale is Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m at the Church of St. Clement 1701 North Quaker Lane.

The aim of the sale is to promote native plant gardening in the neighborhood because gardening with natives is better for the watershed, woodlands, and wildlife, especially birds.  Nursery vendors from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania will be at the sale providing native plants.  There will be native perennials, trees and shrubs for shade and sun.  This sale provides quality plants to you and encourages a greater demand for natives in the nursery industry.

The sale will go on rain or shine.  For more information click here