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A Show Of Color In Danger Of Vanishing

Thursday, June 22, 2006; VA07

Hidden in a nondescript neighborhood on the border between Reston and Herndon, Margaret Thomas's gardens are beautiful, unusual -- and endangered.

Though small, they are an impressionist landscape of color and delight. A group of gray, tumbledown farm buildings half-buried in kudzu provides a backdrop for irises, poppies, peonies and lilies -- an explosion of color at 12410 Lawyers Rd.

For almost 30 years, Thomas has sold rare and unusual flower bulbs. A generation of artists has been inspired by the site and its views, a lush refuge from the bustle of Northern Virginia.

Now Thomas is in her mid-eighties and wants to retire, but she has not found a buyer for her property who is willing to preserve the gardens. She and a community group, the Friends of Margaret's Gardens, hope to persuade the Fairfax County Park Authority to buy the land for a county park.

-- LIZ MILNER

© 2006 The Washington Post Company