Thursday, April 28, 2016

Historic Garden Week 2016 in Petersburg, Virginia

 Petersburg 1838 Courthouse Clock Tower & Roses
This year as part of Historic Garden Week in Virginia, we selected Petersburg as our annual tour destination. I wanted to spend some time in the amazing Old Towne area and get a closer look of what could be described as a congenial southern historic town. 
YUMMY Sweets provided by The Petersburg Garden Club

I'm always impressed with the effort extended by the host Garden Club and Petersburg did not disappoint. The Petersburg Garden Club members at each stop were so welcoming and personable. We absolutely fell in LOVE with the house on the hill, Centre Hill, as the museum staff was superb. We can certainly understand why movie crews rush to Petersburg to set up camp to film.

All interior photos of Floral Arrangements were graciously provided by Molly Sammler, Petersburg Garden Club photographer for Historic Garden Week. 

Stone accents at the Kramer House on the Lake
Driving 2 hours from Charlottesville, we began our tour by visiting three homes located on the lake in Chesterfield Virginia. These relatively new large homes all offered lovely views of Lake Chesdin. We especially liked what we referred to as the pink and green house (my favorite color combination). Upon entry into the Kramer House, one looks beyond the open entryway through huge windows straight onto the lake. A light and airy home decorated by owner and designer Glenna Jean who makes beautiful bedding, pillows and accessories.

Rose Arrangement at Centre Hill by Molly
We were so touched by the history of her mother who died at 105 years of age. Being that her favorite flower was the rose, there were many small items in the home that she had beautifully painted. She also was a blue ribbon cookie maker and her winning Sugar Cookie recipe was handed out to every visitor. Several rooms were decorated in a garden theme featuring walls perfectly painted by an artist that had Alzheimer's. We very much loved getting to know this home on a more personal level and relaxing lake side on the multi-leveled deck chatting with garden club members.

Meeting a few furry friends @ Strachan-Harrison
Next we headed to Old Towne to race through Petersburg to get to the next set of three homes on tour. After a break at Demolition Coffee (a really cool shop in of course an amazing historic building) we were off to the Strachan-Harrison House. A boxwood garden complete with majestic trees surrounds the front entry. Inside there are beautiful period portraits. The owners have gone to great lengths to make the interior represent the homes age dated in the late 1700's. There was also a barn outside with a sweet Donkey that protects the dear Lambs from predators.

Massive Kramer H. Peacock Arrangm.
Next we were off to Centre Hill. I really do enjoy an element of surprise when I plan a tour and don't like to know too much about a property before I visit. We were walking around what appeared to be an amazing Civil War period mansion, lolly gagging along taking pictures of the roses at neighboring homes, who, by the way, have a great view off all that goes on at Centre Hill, when we read a little sign outside of the building that said for us to please forgive the length of the grass as the PBS series, Mercy Street, wants it that way! 

Centre Hill Mansion
I thought Mercy Street was filmed in Alexandria Virginia. Mercy Street is actually filmed in Richmond and Petersburg and in the series, it was chosen to list as being portrayed in the town of Alexandria Virginia. Centre Hill Mansion is the central family's home in the series. Centre Hill has been used by many movies and is a known for paranormal activity. Do not miss this beautiful mansion when you go to Petersburg.

Iris in Ginger Jar @ Strachan by Molly
At the end of our tour we dashed through - oh I wish we had more time - the historic McIlwaine House which was featured in the film, Lincoln. Amazingly, this 3-story shell of a building was moved from its original location 8 blocks away. The original ornate hand carved interior woodwork was missing but eventually found in storage and restored back on the walls. This ca. 1794 high-style federal building is now in fine condition complete with beautiful period pieces supplied by the current owner who has done an amazing job restoring this structure back to it's original condition.

Marie Bowen Gardens in Walnut Hill
Our last stop was to the natural gardens named after the Raleigh Parish Garden Club member, Marie Bowen who spent, up until her death in 1979, countless hours tending and planting the Fairfax side of a ravine. A sweet and tranquil garden that can freely be visited from dusk to dawn. It was the perfect end to a beautiful day in Petersburg, a nice mix of the new and old. 

Goodies provided: Laptop Case, Recipe, Seeds, Magazine
A nice briefcase bag was given to each participant, which now holds my laptop, along with a packet of Forget Me Not seeds. I last planted this dear plant many years ago on the grave of my dear Schnauzer, Tator. If I can get it to grow, it will be a sweet reminder of my trip to Petersburg and my pooch.

Little meditative spot at 
After hitting several Thrift Stores (another reason to visit Petersburg) and buying 2 cute purses for $2.50, we headed to Cary Street in Richmond for dinner. Home at 11 pm - pooped. My only wish was that we had another day to really delve into the history in Petersburg but I can't wait to return!


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