Monday, April 18, 2011

Garden Week in Virginia

April 16 - 23rd is the annual Virginia Garden Week and there are a host of activities throughout the State of Virginia sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia.
Yesterday we traveled to Staunton to tour the Newtown Historic District.  I fell in love with Staunton the moment I saw it many years ago.  It has made great strides since my first trip.  The Stonewall Jackson Hotel was not even under renovation at that time and I was near hysterical just thinking that this wonderful structure would fall into disrepair and ultimately be destroyed.  There were some shops on the main drag and businesses were opening along warehouse row, but it was not as "happening" as it is today.  I am so happy that Staunton has made such great strides and several years ago I was able to stay in the Stonewall Jackson Hotel which was saved and lovingly renovated.

Staunton's historic district is dripping with history.  Homes are vibrantly colored and it's not uncommon to see renovations in the works.  My main reason to tour was to see tucked in city gardens showing off spring colors of pink, blue, yellow, and green but was surprised to find the most unusual and fantastically gorgeous floral arrangements crafted by The Augusta Gardening Club.

Nearly every room, mantel, and porch had an arrangement displayed that illuminated a corresponding piece of art or furnishing.  The different varieties of Tulips and their smashing range of colors were a highlight.  An especially cute arrangement that I was not permitted to shoot, was a dainty row of halved egg shells each containing a little stem of a dwarf Narcissus.  The Augusta Gardening Club is amazing and they should be so proud of their hard work.

It was a rainy day but very often we found ourselves actually walking in very light rain, the only torrential downpour being later in the day while we were having a late lunch.  The restaurant kitchen was nearly flooded and had to be closed down it was such a huge rain.  Amazingly the skies cleared and we were off to check out some local thrift stores and head to the Crozet Mudhouse for the best Mocha in Charlottesville.

Tuesday the 19th is the big day in Charlottesville, offering free tours.  We will start in the morning at Monticello for a morning tour of Thomas Jefferson's restored gardens and then go on campus at UVA to see the walled gardens on campus which I highly recommend.  There is a short garden lecture on campus to be given by Shaun Spencer-Hester who lives in her grandmothers home and gardens.  It sounds very reminiscent of my past life in Pulaski.

Parts of the Presidents house and gardens and the Morea Gardens will be open.  There is a lot to do on campus and at Monticello Tuesday!  Local gardeners won't want to miss it.


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