Gotta Garden

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Garden Trips: Belmont

Last Wednesday was one of those "all about gardening" days...which you know I enjoy. Belmont was the setting for a lecture (which I'll post about later) and luncheon followed by a visit to the Daffodil Show (more on that later, too). Even though the day started out with rain, by the time of arrival at Belmont, the weather was clear.

I always enjoy visiting Belmont. It's only about 20-30 minutes away from me, so a great place to take out of town guests. Belmont was the home of Gari Melchers, one of America's premier portrait artists. Many of his paintings are there as well as quite a few of other artists who were friends of his. I remember being told once (on one tour or another) that he didn't like his own work in his home as he would see the flaws in it (which would only be visible to him)...I can relate to that! The home is set up as if they have just stepped out. Mrs. Melchers left everything to the University of Mary Washington which oversees and develops the estate. You can also visit his studio and have the feeling that he's just taken a break...

Much as I enjoy and love the art, Belmont has a very pleasant garden which is growing under the encouragement of the UMW foundation. So, if you're ready, we'll get started on our little tour:

This is actually the back of the house where everyone enters today:

Note the green shutters and the blue door(s), as in the time of the Melchers:

But, let's walk around to the front. Before the Melchers' time, it is speculated that the carriages would have pulled up to the side and this would have been your view as you stepped out:

This is a very beautiful view, stretching your eye to look down (I'll show you it from the other way in a bit).

Here's the front of the house:

Check out this ironwork:


Your view looking down:

I know, enough already, onward to the garden, right? Okay, let's take that long path in front of the home....

These primroses have seeded themselves all around:

Over here, bleeding hearts...both pink and white:

Mrs. Melchers' restored terrace garden (or in the process of being restored)...just around the corner from here is where I took the picture posted on Wordless Wednesday:

This is trout lily, Erythronium 'Pagoda':

It's still early spring; I bet these tulips will be in out next week, what do you think?

We're looking back at the home now, this end overlooks the garden:

I know you're curious about the white daffodils (Thalia):

A tranquil retreat where you could take a good book and look down on the Rappahannock River:

Now, the promised look back up the long path:

Naturalized daffodils from at least the time of the Melchers, possibly before:

Money plant (Lunaria Biennis) with an old fashioned Butter and Eggs Daffodil:

You're probably tired by now, so we'll stop here with this scene.

You should know that as with most interesting gardens, Belmont changes through the seasons. In the summer, there's a butterfly garden out in the fields maintained by a caring group of volunteers. Should you be in Stafford County, stop by. Oh yes...for us shoppers, there's a very nice gift shop!

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