Friday, April 26, 2013

Historic Garden Week - Richmond VA Gardens

Whimsical garden on Kanawha
This week during Historic Garden Week in Virginia, we spent the day visiting 8 homes in Richmond, VA. The beautiful gardens and homes kept us entertained so we didn't notice the chill in the air.

Garden Club of Virginia Headquarters
We started our tour at the Garden Club of Virginia Headquarters at the incredible Kent Valentine House. Located downtown nestled in massive Southern Magnolia Trees that predate the house (1845)! This antebellum mansion was saved from the wrecking ball by the club in 1971 and spurred preservation in that part of Richmond. Completely furnished by members, it hosts wedding receptions and events.

The bulk of the tour focused on the historic secluded Chatham Hills neighborhood located just minutes from the Country Club of Virginia.  Most homes were built in the 1920s so there are many majestic trees in a park like setting with plenty of privacy. This time of year offers Spring colors of pastels with touches of fresh green growth. It's a beautiful time of year to celebrate a new season.

Richmond's version of a "pool house" - WOW.
My favorite garden on the tour was the whimsical 7 Kanawha Road. We spent over an hour looking at the statuary, wall of masks, and plantings located right on top of the Kanawha Canal and behind what once was a pool house for a nearby mansion. We had a good laugh over Richmonders definition of a pool house as this was most definitely the biggest pool house on the planet.

Red Poppy w/ Pansies in the background
The last garden that we visited, 129 Brookschase Ln, obviously belonged to a plant collector because of all the plant varieties in the yard. I loved the shrub collection, Poppies and herb bed.  My favorite, must have plant, on the tour, was a Sinocalycalycanthus or Sweet Shrub Hybrid.  I also fell in love with a beautiful Holly that was planted at several homes along the tour coated with big yellow spring pom pom blossoms.

Rear of home on Kanawha Road.
The icing on the cake are the breathtaking Floral Arrangements designed by Club members. It was a beautiful tour and garden club volunteers were welcoming and kind.  I can't wait to see where next year takes me!  More photos will be posted on my tumblr blog.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Historic Garden Week in Virginia

Peppermint striped Camelia, Academical Village Gardens, UVA

This week is the annual Historic Garden Week in Virginia.  We're heading to Richmond tomorrow as it seemed to have the most bang for your buck within our range of an hours drive from Charlottesville, Virginia.

Most important to me are extensive gardens.  Some tours focus more on the interior of the home than the exterior gardens.  I decided the Chatham Hills / Windsor on the James neighborhoods in Richmond tour to be described as being more heavy on the gardens.

We'll see - regardless, check it out, the tours go through this coming weekend and are always top notch!  I'll be publishing a follow up after the tour.

Old Oak on Forsythia Hill, Charlottesville, Virginia
Today is also Earth Day! Be kind to your planet, it has so much beauty and pleasure to offer. I'm proud to say that so far this year I've not accepted one plastic bag from any store! It's easy to carry a shopping bag once you get used to it.  Set a goal and you won't forget!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Through the Garden Gate Tours 2013

Bold white Daffodil, possibly Mount Hood.
Yesterday kicked off the annual Piedmont Master Gardeners garden tour series, Through the Garden Gate.  Occurring the 2nd Saturday of the month from 9 - noon, hosted at a different garden each month. The immaculately landscaped gardens of Deborah and Sam Kellam were featured on this first tour.

Brilliant Blue Anemone
The Kellam home is gracefully perched on a small knoll in an open landscape with pockets of large trees and carefully designed beds. The minimal exertion required to walk the front yard is all but forgotten as you enjoy the peeps of Spring flowers dotted throughout. The yard and home exterior were kept very tidy and many plants were even labeled just for tour participants.

Trout Lily
Deborah and Sam have landscaped their entire property themselves over a 40 year period. Many boulders and rocks have been hauled in to outline walkways and create steps. I enjoyed the flower beds in the front yard dotted with pretty little bits of this and that ~ Daffodils, Anemone, Helleborus, Hyacinth, Magnolia, Japanese Maple, flowering shrubs, and several varieties of Cryptomeria japonica are woven into the landscape.

A cozy place to enjoy the garden.
Walking around the side of the house to the backyard, one of my favorite nooks was a Red Japanese Maple artfully framed by a black stone wall.  The Maple was just leafing out but in full bloom the brilliant red must pop in front of the black stone.  As you approach the backyard, you are confronted with an expansive stand of huge trees meandering down a long slop.  Noticing that other neighboring yards were basically unusable due to the slop, it was quite a feat for this area to be usable by something other than wandering deer.  Carefully outlined pathways that were sturdy and safe for passage wound through a deciduous forest with splashes of shade loving creepers and yellow Woodland Poppies.

The bottom of the winding path in the magical backyard.
As I exited the backyard, I noticed the wonderful back decks overlooking the forest and could imagine it would provide a great outpost for bird watching.  I also noticed a double sized greenhouse window on the back of the cute garage.  It gave me the idea of removing a ramshackle window in my house and replacing it with something I could grow my seedlings in each year.  I always seem to pick up an idea or two during the tours.

Solitary Pale Yellow Tulip
Hands down, this is my favorite Charlottesville area annual garden tour event and it is affordably priced at $5.00.  Hope to see you at the next one.  2013 Garden Tour Schedule


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