Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Historic Garden Week in Virginia 2016 Biggest Tour of the Year

Flower Arrangement Richmond Tour 
If you love Spring as I do, then you won't want to miss the biggest tour of the year, Historic Garden Week in Virginia. Beginning April 23 select communities throughout the state host home and garden tours sponsored by local Garden Clubs. Each year I get my grubby gardening gloves on the 250 page guidebook that explains in detail every tour site. You can pick up a catalog in local specialty shops and libraries or you can read the guidebook online. Proceeds from the tours help preserve historic gardens in Virginia.

Beautiful Flowers during prior Tour
Each year I blog about my favorite tour sites listed in the catalog. The following communities made my list mainly because of their emphasis on gardens. Some localities focus more on home interiors. Last year we visited Richmond and it was outstanding and over the years we have visited Ashland, Charlottesville, Lexington, Staunton, and Richmond (twice).

Note: Some tour tickets can be purchased in advance for a $5.00 discount.

Ashland Tour 2012
4/23, Saturday, 10-5, $35.00 - Staunton is pulling out all the stops with 8 properties open on tour day. They also have guest speakers and performances throughout the day. When we toured Staunton several years ago I was totally blown away by the floral arrangements created by the Augusta Garden Club. On tour this year are expansive gardens with over 1,000 Daffodils and Tulips, Azalea, Rhododendron, Peony, and Spring Shrubs. Featured are select Roses from the Garden Club of Virginia's Rose Collection. The Charles Gillette designed garden at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is included on the tour. While you are in town, check out the ongoing efforts to replant Dogwood trees in the sprawling Gypsy Hill Park.

This Spring on Forsythia Hill in my garden.
4/23, Sat, 12-5, $45.00 - Winchester-Clarke features native plant and organic food production gardens featuring herbs and vegetables. Specialty gardens are also highlighted on this tour; Dahlia, Rose, more than 15,000 Daffodils, 10,000 Tulips, and 15,000 Grape Hyacinths. Clay Hill will be on the tour and has been featured in several notable publications and includes an Orchid conservatory, Italianate boxwood parterre garden, and perennial & vegetable gardens planted within stone walls built by Hessian soldiers. Don't miss the Black Walnut tree said to be one of the largest in Virginia. If you have time, visit our State Arboretum of Virginia.

Ashland Tour 2012
4/26, Tuesday, 10-5, $25.00 - Petersburg is steeped in history and is a fascinating place to visit even without Historic Gardening Week to lure you in. Centre Hill Mansion has been featured in several movies and is a restoration project of the Garden Club of Virginia. Several other amazing historic homes are featured on the tour as is a billiard room, wine cellar, carriage house, potting shed, barn, gazebo, and guest house. Art, history, and antiques abound along with terraced gardens, flowering trees, walking trails, and native plants. The Marie Bowen Garden is a 30 year restoration project taken on by the Raleigh Parish Garden Club, named after one member who spent countless hours propagating native plants for an overgrown expansive ravine located within the garden. You may want to make time for the first Bank Museum in Virginia, Farmers Bank, one of the few in the USA,

Monticello during Garden Week 2014
4/28, Thurs, 10-5, $40.00 - Norfolk features homes from the early 1900's. Well known Virginia architect, John K. Peebles designed one home that is featured. Interior styles vary from Italian to Asian. Gardens include a pesticide free garden with herbs and vegetables and a sustainable garden featuring many edible / pollinator friendly plants. The eight acre Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary is also on the tour. For more than 20 years, the St. Andrews Episcopal Church has hosted a Flower Festival and will showcase arrangements during the tour. If you have time, you might want to make a trip over to the Chrysler Museum of Art or the Moses Myers House (one of the many Garden Club of Virginia's renovated gardens).

Richmond Tour 2013
4/29, Fri, 10-4, $40.00 - Middle Peninsula will open 6 homes; a mix of historic and contemporary and new construction. A Virginia planters home from the 1840's, a Georgian style home that has discovered two cannon balls on the property, and one home from 1763 that has a slave cabin and log cabin on the property. One newer home has a waterfront view with gardens, pool and outdoor kitchen. The "Old Customs House" referred to as "Sandwich" is on the tour and is named after the Earl of Sandwich who of course invented the sandwich! You won't want to miss the home with custom crafted interior wood detailing located on the salt marsh and creek. Stroll winding woodland paths covered in over 15,000 bulbs through a bog garden surrounded by native plants and trees.

Prior Garden Week in Richmond 2015
4/30, Sat, 10-5, $35.00 - Blackstone & Nottoway County features homes ranging in age from 1800 - 1900 plus one new contemporary home. Garden details encompass a herb garden, Asian garden, Koi pond, cottage garden, heirloom plants, mature specimen trees, and over 100 Hostas. The Virginia Bluebird Society will host a garden presentation. One home features 500 martini glasses and a collection of Buddhist and Hindu statues. In town there is a carriage museum and The Nottoway County Courthouse has been described as one of the most beautiful of its style in Virginia. Trend is hosting a waffle tasting from 9 - 11 am.

Richmond headquarters for Garden Club of Virginia
4/30, Sat, 10-5, $30.00 - Lexington features 6 properties, many tied to the production of grapes. Rockbridge Vineyard is on the tour as is a nearby home with natural wood detailing, a shaded woodland garden, and a fruit and vegetable garden. One home that has been modified over the years since 1790, had Union forces camped on the farm prior to Hunter's raid on Lexington and now has "rocking chairs on the front porch over looking the countryside and grape vines". Another home on the tour features natural gardens with birdhouses, hand-hewn fencing, and an amphitheater near the creek. Art is a feature in several homes on this tour. A sweet Herbery is filled with hundreds of bulbs, spring ephemerals, herbs, and a greenhouse. Also tour a rustic treehouse and log-cabin smokehouse, barn, pool and pool house surrounded by garden walking trails leading to the creek.

Garden Week in Richmond 2015
This is just a small taste of beautiful homes and gardens in Virginia. I hope you will pick a location and explore. I'm still on the fence where to go this year but at least my list has been narrowed down!



  1. History abounds in your neck of the woods! I loved the read and your lovely photogs. I only wish I could visit the venues featured as I'm sure would impress even the very best of gardeners. Thanks for the read and share and I hope you enjoy the tours!!

  2. Thank u so much for reading my blog VV. U are GREAT.


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