Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Virginia Historic Garden Week is nearly HERE

Maymont in Richmond in the Spring
Virginia Historic Garden Week is fast approaching and occurs April 26 - May 3, 2014.

Conveniently, the Garden Club of Virginia provides a 240 page booklet complete with graphic details about the tour featuring such Spring beauties as flowering Dogwood, Hydrangea, Tulips, and Daffodils. Look for the booklet at your local library or read details online. The tour features homes and gardens, some communities lean more toward gardens, some more to homes.

Historic home on tour in 2012, Ashland, Virginia
Since my relocation to Charlottesville, Virginia in 2009 I have not missed the annual tour and each year scour the booklet with several cups of tea (initially the book was smaller and one cup would suffice) for the perfect location to tour and blog about. I have yet to be disappointed. Each community offers a little something different than the other. I loved the smaller community tours in Staunton and Ashland and was blown away by the tour last year in Richmond.

Arrangement on Ashland Tour, 2012
This year, because of the great number of gardens featured, we have decided to go to Lexington.
Saturday, May 3: The Lexington tour is located within Monroe Park, a subdivision that began construction in the 1920s. This tour features 7 homes and/or gardens.

There are a few communities that have fantastic descriptions but given we limit our driving distance to 2 hours, they are out of reach.

Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Petersburg sound really good but were not chosen for various reasons.

Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia
Tuesday, April 29: I pass through Lynchburg often and check in on the Anne Spencer's Poet Garden and the Old City Cemetery Gardens so I ruled that out. If you have not been, I highly recommend this tour or go to the Rose Festival May 9th at the Old City Cemetery to choose from hundreds of roses.

Patio on tour in Ashland, Virginia 2012
Tuesday, April 29: If you love history, go to Petersburg. It's farther to drive than Lexington and on the same day so we ruled it out. The garden booklet is dripping with references such as, "symbol of the grandeur that characterized the aristocracy of Virginia in the 19th century".

Home on 2013 Tour, Richmond, Virginia
Wed - Fri, April 30 - May 2Richmond features three different areas of the city on different days. It's never easy for me to decided which area to pick. If you are fortunate to live in Richmond, you can go to all three! Also don't miss the headquarters located at the Kent-Valentine house, it's amazing!

The Star City of the South, Roanoke, Virginia
Saturday, May 3Roanoke often offers interesting tours, last year the home on top of Mill Mountain (where the Star is perched) was on the tour. This year the gardens only of the Avenham home of Mary Anne and David Wine are open. The home used to be owned by the Roanoke Council of Garden Clubs and was built in 1911. It is a well known Roanoke landmark and the Wine's have worked on their property since their acquisition in 2003. I rented space in Pulaski, Virginia for my coffee shop, MimiAnne's, from David Wine and the greatest of care always goes into their preservation efforts changing what once was discarded into something magnificent. I would expect the gardens to be beautiful.

I have to shut my eyes and not even dare read Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Eastern Shore... all too far to travel but I'm sure offering outstanding tours.

Walking trail, at the foothill of Monticello
In Charlottesville:

Monday, April 28th: Free lecture and tour, 2 pm, Kitchen Road Restoration at Monticello (RESERVATIONS REQUIRED - website refers to 10 am but trust me, it's at 2 pm).

Tuesday April 29th: Free lecture, "Expanding Jefferson's Vision, Master Plan for the University of Virginia" will be held at the Albert and Shirley Small Collection Library on campus at 2 pm. I adore this amazing library which by the way, also hosts a wonderful summer lecture series.

If you have not toured the Academical Village Pavilion Gardens near the Rotunda on campus, add that to your list! The gardens are magical.

So much to see and so little time - 8 days, 250 gardens, 2,000 floral arrangements - WOW. 

Where ever you decide to go, you are sure to find beauty and surprises. Proceeds benefit historic garden preservation in Virginia and the list of success stories is quite a lengthy one! Currently nearly 50 gardens in the state are undergoing preservation projects.

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