Gotta Garden

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Virginia's Historic Garden Week

In its 74th year, Historic Garden Week in Virginia is the nation's oldest and largest statewide garden and house tour event. More than 40 historic properties have been restored and are now open to the public thanks to the efforts of the Garden Club of Virginia. Among those benefiting from the funding of Historic Garden Week is the Mary Washington House where I volunteer.

These tours are really about the homes, I've found, all usually historic homes and only occasionally a real garden. This used to bother me, but I've come around and appreciate the efforts of all the volunteers and the homeowners who open their homes...all to benefit those historic restoration efforts. This year, however, the tour we choose was one that did indeed have a marvelous garden that I know you'll enjoy seeing. We went to Warrenton and visited five homes there. At least one, maybe more, had never been open to the public before. No photos are allowed inside (incredible antiques and collections as well as decorator designed rooms are a treat to see), so you'll only see the outside. But, what an outside these homes have! Wait until you see the views...

I left my home at 8:00 am and returned around 6:15 was quite a day! Grab your coffee, pull up a comfortable chair and kick your shoes off...we may be a while! So, here we go. We had a welcoming committee at the first home. This cutie and two friends greeted us:

You had to look, but there was another welcome:

The local Garden Clubs provide flower arrangements in each of the homes. Usually, there's at least one in each room open to the public. This one was on our way inside:

This arrangement was on the back porch (if you look closely, you can see the screening) and will give you an idea of the kind of arrangements on display:

There was even a bee:

This is what the owner looks upon while sitting on that back porch:

All of these homes, except the one in town, had swimming pools, guest houses, tennis courts and, of course, stables. This is Horse Country and Hunt Country. If you look closely in both of the following pictures (you can click on all the pictures), you'll see a horse in each.

Dogwoods and Redbuds in Spring...

This frog lives over by the pool/guest house and is actually a fountain:

Here's where he resides:

If you look in this container, you'll see an airy small white flower. Take note of this! It is Proven Winner's Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' and must be this season's hottest container plant. I saw it used quite a bit in South Carolina when I was down there in March.

Well, we do have other homes to see, so moving on...check out these steps:

This home was featured last year (May, I think) in Southern Living and it was easy to see why. It also turned out that some of the landscaping was done by the owner of the next home (the one with the real garden). This home's owner provided us with a handout that had diary entries from the home's (old) former owners, rich in Civil War history. Apparently, there's even a resident ghost.

This is a new courtyard and I'll try to give you several views.

Complete with tomato:

Unfortunately, ace photographer here apparently photographed a number of pictures from this house with my clicker to my car....we'll just go on to the next house...the one with the garden!

This is the front yard...with a very nice garden, but the one we've come to see is around back.

There is an actual entry, but I was unable to get a good shot. Too many of us gardener-types looking around and going through!

This is standing at the top looking down:

This is a variegated dogwood with pink blossoms:


Thousands of bulbs were planted last fall:

This garden has everything. Something for everyone.

Here's Brunnera used as an edging:


A bit of you see the coat rack?

One of the things I liked about this house (besides the garden) was that inside there were numerous garden books...and they were read and used...pages were marked, etc.

Every setting paints a scene:

This is the other end of what appears to be the garden shed:

Gardens surrounded this house (just the way I like it!):

Another water feature, this one in a shade garden on the side of the house:

We were told inside the house that monkeys have special meaning for this family:

There were many ground covers used in this garden. Especially interesting to me (in what I call my year of ground covers), I gained a little more confidence seeing all the ones used here...and clearly for the reasons I'm cover space vs weeds covering space. This is Mazus reptans 'Alba' (I think):

Looking back the other way (I like to do that!):

Tucked here and there, places to sit and enjoy the garden:

Looking back toward the garden shed:

That's all for that one. Not at this house, but some violets were spotted and one member of our group told us these were sometimes called Confederates and Yankees (blue and grey):

At the next house (the fourth one, if you're counting), they, too, had spectacular views...and no one in sight forever. We asked how much land they owned and were told "Lots":

Some interesting things:

And, this, a thyme patio:

We're on our way now to the fifth and final house. We didn't arrive in time for the hunting dogs demonstration, but a caught a bit on our way:

Entering through an iron gate, we were directed this way and saw this very old pet cemetary (early 1900s - 1950s). My favorite was Tiny the Winy:

First view of the is much larger than it looks:

This family, we were told, only lives half the year in this home. The other half is spent in their home in France. Here's an interesting bench on one of the patios:

The view you'd have:

This looked like a Carolina Silverbell to me:

More rustic seating:

This is one side of the house:

Sometimes something as simple yellow tulips can be stunning:

The Garden Club had even made a stop over at the pool:

Look at the torches around the pool:

A colorful container on the front steps:

It's time to go but here's one last view:


Carol said...

Wow! That was quite a tour. I could look at these pictures for hours... That's a lot to see in a day.

Thanks for sharing all these with us.

Mary said...

Gotta Garden, I have to admit I laughed throughout this post. You deserve an award for "the most pictures displayed in one post"! LOL! They are fabulous! I'm wondering how long it took you to upload them. I love flowers so much and the history behind them but I couldn't name many, except for geraniums, etc.

This was a great post and I'm glad you had a great time. That little doggie looks like a lot of fun :o)

LostRoses said...

Gosh, you really got an eyeful! Those are some amazing photos. I also love that you tried to take some with the clicker from your car. That's how I feel when I aim the phone at the TV to change channels.

I have to say that's the first time I've seen a cannon in a garden. Now there's some kitsch for you!

Michelle said...

What a beautiful post! Thanks! I'm certainly envious of those gardens.....AMAZING! :)

A wildlife gardener said...

Great photos, great tour, thanks!

Entangled said...

Thanks for the virtual tour! I've lived in Virgnia for over 20 years now and never visited any of the Garden Week houses. I always sort of assumed that most of these properties would be like the last one - lots of statuary and paving and green shrubbery, and not much that would be pertinent to my humble efforts. But that third garden was soooo very interesting.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Gotta, you must have had a lovely day touring all these wonderful gardens and houses. What a pity you weren't allowed to take pics inside, I'd really loved to see those.

But thanks for sharing these lovely pics with your fellow garden bloggers! I enjoyed them!

Chris said...

Wow! So many ideas, so little space to do them in :-) A fantastic tour, thank you!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

WOW!!! I want a low, chunky bench like that. And a thyme patio--how awesome! Oh, and a millstone to mark the bend in a path... I loved the age on that thing.

Gotta Garden said...

Hi Carol: Thanks! It was.

Hi Mary: Let's just say...days...!!Lol! Thanks for your kind means a lot, especially when I wondered why am I doing this??!

Hi Lostroses: Wasn't that wild! I'm sure there must be a story behind the cannon, but it wasn't shared. I'm laughing because when I re-read what I wrote, I see why you thought that re: the clicker! I do sometimes do...shall we say...unusual things...however, what I meant (and didn't really say) was that I had taken only my keys and my camera...thinking this would free me up from dragging a purse, etc. around....but, even with just those things, I had this whole group of pictures with this black blob in them which I finally realized was the car clicker! Now, that takes some doing, I think...maybe next time I'll wear something with a pocket and put the keys in there...then, maybe I can!

Hi Michelle: You're welcome! Truthfully, while I'm envious of all the great property, the only garden that I'd really envy was the third one...a real gardener's garden.

Hi there A Wildlife Gardener: Thank you!

Hi Entangled: You're so right. I felt that way for a long time...until it was pointed out to me that the garden I volunteer in realized some of the funding. That made it a bit more relevant to me...and more under the doing-a-good-thing category. There are people (some in my group) who go to several tours...even take the week off from work...for me, the one day was fine, enough. I'm not really a house person and certainly not a decorator person (I would die a thousand deaths if folks could see inside my house...let alone where I sit here typing!)...but, I agree the third garden was wonderful...I could have spent longer there.

YE: I think you would enjoy these homes but they probably are only like! You have the magic touch that these folks spend thousands to achieve. But, for folks who like antiques, history and collections of art, objects, etc....these homes are worth the time...and it's for a good cause!

Thanks, Chris!

Hi BS_G: There were some cool things...I tried to find something(s) at each home that was unique and/or different...really, it wasn't that hard. All these owners care about their homes and have an appreciation for the historical aspects and/or the glorious views. I did think with a couple, though (laughing), that maybe a bit could be done about the roads there...but maybe that is part of the them.

Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know your thoughts.

I have a couple of things I'm working on...but just need more hours in the day...a more comfortable chair here wouldn't hurt!

ginger said...


Just discovered you and your beautiful photos! Loved the garden tour, thanks for sharing!

Gotta Garden said...

Hello there, Ginger! Thanks for stopping by; please do come back.

Kate said...

The views from these houses are spectacular. There is so much to take in ... the gardens were all spectacular. I loved the various water features - all creative and unique. The little monkey nestled in among the flowers was cute.

For a minute, I thought I was in England with a foxhunt about to start.

OldRoses said...

Sorry, I'm late for the tour. It was wonderful! I love touring gardens. The thyme patio is fabulous. All those tulips. They have gardeners, right?

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