The beginning of Historic Garden Week dates to 1927, when a flower show organized by the Garden Club of Virginia raised an impressive $7,000 to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson on the lawn at Monticello.
The Garden Club of Virginia operates as a non-profit organization comprised of 47 member clubs and 3,400 volunteers. Proceeds from Historic Garden Week fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens, provide graduate level research fellowships and a Garden Club of Virginia Centennial project with Virginia State Parks.
Since the first statewide tour, over $17 million has been contributed to these worthwhile causes. Coming originally from England, early Virginians brought with them an inherent love of the land. They created splendid plantations with noble homes and handsome gardens. Without organized protection of this irreplaceable inheritance, the Garden Club of Virginia foresaw its inevitable destruction. Starting in 1929, they made it their most important work to preserve our state’s historic public gardens. From Monticello, Mount Vernon, Bacon’s Castle, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, to the State Arboretum in Winchester, to name just a few – a full diversity of gardens is represented in our projects.
Since 1920 the Garden Club of Virginia has grown from eight founding clubs to 47 clubs with over 3,300 members. It is the coordinated efforts of these talented volunteers, along with the generosity of over 200 private home owners across our Commonwealth, who make Historic Garden Week possible. The Garden Club of Virginia’s horticultural programming and flower shows inspire one of Historic Garden Week’s greatest attractions, the world-class floral arrangements created by club members featured in every home on tour. We estimate over 2,300 will be created especially for Historic Garden Week this spring.
Historic Garden Week in
Orange – “Antebellum Orange”
Saturday April 22nd, ticket Information (Ticket includes admission to all 5 properties.)Tickets: $35 pp. Available tour day only at Market at Grelen, 15091 Yager Road, Gordonsville. Advance Tickets: $30 pp at www.vagardenweek.org. Available locally until noon on April 21 at Elmwood at Sparks and The Arts Center of Orange in Orange and at the Laurie Holladay Shop and Colonial Florist in Gordonsville. By mail through April 10. Checks payable to DMGC with a stamped, self-addressed, legal-sized envelope to: Jacque Johnson, 22386 Village Road, Unionville, VA 22567. $15 pp bag lunches from The Market at Grelen at www.themarketatgrelen.com. Orders required by April 17. Pick up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (540) 672-7268. This is a driving tour. Parking is available at The Market at Grelen, Monteith, Edgewood and Merriwood. Spotswood Lodge is only accessible by shuttle. Pick up at The Market at Grelen from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and drop off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Market at Grelen is located at 15091 Yager Road, Gordonsville, 22942. Directions to Headquarters (The Market at Grelen), Maps will be available as part of the local brochure posted online at www.dolleymadisongardenclub.org. Also via a link at www.vagardenweek.org.
18454 Monteith Farm Road, Gordonsville, 22942
The house, a two-story building over an English basement with a hipped roof, is thought to have been built by the local master builder Major William A. Jennings (c.1844). Built on an L-shaped plan, the brick structure retains most of the original Greek Revival woodwork including the marbleized mantels. Painted to resemble real stone, this technique was popular in the mid-1800s. Noteworthy is the “maiden staircase” which prevented slaves from entering the front of the house; they had to enter through a door that led to the roof. False windows, apparent from the exterior, are placed to maintain symmetry. The property includes a slave cemetery and a civil war encampment. The current owners have worked to restore the landscape and create a wildlife and pollinator habitat through reforestation. Twenty acres of fallow fields were converted to wildflower and native, warm-season grass meadows. The surrounding area includes a peony and herbaceous border, a secret fountain garden, a formal boxwood-walled herb and tea garden, plus a Greek Revival chicken coop with vegetable and cutting gardens. The Passarellos are committed to preserving local native plant and vegetable varieties as well as keeping rare and North American Heritage breed chickens. Carla and Kevin Passarello, owners.
Edgewood Miller Farm:
5291 Scuffletown Road, Barboursville, 22923
Built by William F. Brooking in 1852 and constructed by Jennings, this brick house is two stories over an English basement with two large rooms on each floor. There is a hall and stairs running inside the front of the house. Closed shutters on the west side are false windows. This is similar to the design of Monteith in nearby Gordonsville and used to balance to the exterior. A front porch and frame expansion to the back of the home are 20th- and 21st-century additions. The kitchen was added by previous owners and renovated in 2011. The Millers added a high-tech media room in the English basement and updated many of the outbuildings on the property, including a guest house with an indoor/outdoor stone fireplace, a sunken garden and a garage with an office above it designed in the French Country style. They designed and constructed the chicken palace, too. A state-of-the-art horse barn is home to sport horses that are boarded and trained, as well as three thoroughbred rescue horses. Outside the main house is a brick oval patio surrounded by raised beds. Up the hill to the left is a deer-proof, raised-bed garden. Everything from from tomatoes, lettuces, raspberries, blackberries and beans are grown there organically. To the right is the field garden, which contains even more vegetables. The 243-acre property is in conservation easement and contains a new greenhouse. Barbara and David Miller, owners.
A 12384 Merriewood Drive , Somerset
The original section is a brick house built in 1856 by Major William A. Jennings, who built many houses in the area. In this elegant structure, his own residence, Jennings constructed a commanding version of the Greek Revival style. Restored to his original floor plan, the rooms in this section are just as they were in the 19th century. Doors, glass, window molding and decorative carvings are intact. Of interest is the Jennings family graveyard located on the property. In 1998 the current owners commissioned William Ryall, a New York architect, to design a frame addition. The new wing is light-filled and airy, and complements the original house. Furnishings include family pieces, as well as a mix of English and American antiques. In the music room is a noteworthy Sheraton secretary that belonged to Mrs. Collins’ great-great-grandfather and a Steinway grand piano from the Manhattan townhouse of Mr. Collins’ great-grandfather, which was a Christmas present to his daughter in 1888. A portrait of Mrs. Collins’ great-great-great-grandmother hangs above the mantel in the dining room; three portraits of Mrs. Collins’ great-aunt show her as a child, as an 18-year-old, and as a Red Cross nurse in World War I. A charming playhouse on the grounds is furnished as a child’s kitchen. Charles J. Stick designed the garden viewed from the first-floor addition. James Collins and Virginia Donelson Collins, owners.
16280 Blue Ridge Turnpike. Gordonsville, 22942
Set on an 11-acre property with a pond in front, the traditionally styled main house has been added onto multiple times but the exact date of construction is unknown. The original one-over-one (the current dining room and one of the upstairs bedrooms) is the oldest part of the house and probably dates to the late 1700s. The main house and cottage has eight bedrooms, seven full baths and numerous living spaces. Originally a single-family home, and later a B&B, the property was purchased by the owners of The Market At Grelen and renovated to be a farm rental for Grelen brides and others visiting the area. The interiors were re-designed by Leslie Gregg, co-owner of The Market. New bluestone and brick paving and natural fieldstone walls were added to enhance the yard. Overgrown boxwood around the foundation have been replaced with trees and shrubs to soften the house while not blocking its view from the road. The acer triflorum, or “Three-Flower Maple,” in front of house to left of front porch displays beautiful color in autumn. Dan and Leslie Gregg, owners.
“Views of the Blue Ridge: Country Homes & Gardens”:
Sunday, April 23, 2017 Tour 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. features five properties northwest of Charlottesville along Ridge and Garth Roads: Southfield, Choill Mhor, Midway, The Laing House and Fox Ridge Farm. There are a variety of architectural styles, gardens and landscape designs that all take advantage of the back-drop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
TheGarden Only The gardens on Southfield’s twenty acres offer a plethora of unique trees, shrubs and perennials. The original one-story home was designed by Thomas Craven in 1982, and patterned after an English manor house. The current owners, who moved here in 1999, have added the outbuildings, the hardscaping, the gardens and the infinity-edged pool. The gardens extend in all directions from the buildings into the largely wooded property, save for the open, pastoral south-facing view to the Blue Ridge in the distance. They were integrated, bed by bed, over the past 17 years into the hardwood and understory trees and azaleas that surround the original house. The owner, a self-proclaimed plant collector, has large collections of unusual native and non-native woodland plants, winter flowering shrubs, flowering trees, Japanese maples and spring flowering bulbs. Paths meander through the woods, and around the house, where whimsical statuary and water features appear at various turns. The extensive informal woodland gardens are augmented by a formal walled parterre garden and innumerable pots and tropicals that extend summer interest. Cathy and Chris Kramer, owners.
Named “great woods” in Gaelic, this English Country Manor home, set on fifty acres just off Garth Road, was built in 2005. The current owners purchased the property in 2014, and immediately set to work on creating gardens and adding dozens of native trees. A new driveway and new bluestone walk up to the front entrance welcome you to the home with a fabulous view of the Blue Ridge mountains from the front door straight through to the back of the house. Perennial gardens were created within the existing brick structure incorporating a traditional boxwood parterre design. Native perennials add year-round interest, and include hellebores, Virginia bluebells, amsonia ,19 peonies in the spring, and baptisia, brunnera, leucanthemum, nepeta, calamintha and a variety of hydranga for continued bloom through the summer and fall. The driveway leading up to the red brick and slate roof house is lined with garden beds added to attract birds, bees and butterflies. Hellebores, plumbago, sweet woodruff, and fringe trees were planted. Dozens of new dogwoods and redbuds supplement the landscape graced by white and red oaks, tulip poplars and magnolias, as well as thousands of daffodils, narcissus and camissia. The formal entry and living room take advantage of natural light streaming in the many windows and french doors. The classic British conservatory serves as a dining room and opens the view to the grand allee through woods to the pond and mountains in the distance. The living room terrace and kitchen terrace provide outdoor entertaining areas and an opportunity to enjoy the gardens in the back of the house. A shade garden filled with ferns and spring ephemerals and many varieties of Bleeding Hearts flourishes under an old oak tree while a pollinator garden blooms all summer under the large oak to the west. While the owners left many acres of the hardwood forest untouched, they added several footpaths to enjoy the great woods at Choill Mhor. Midway An Albemarle county property with extensive Blue Ridge Mountain views, Midway features a farmhouse that dates back to the early 19th century. After receiving a land grant of 715 acres from George II, John Rodes came to Albemarle County in 1749 and the Rodes family remained on the property, adding on to the original farmhouse, well into the 1800s. At the time, Midway was a prosperous hemp, flax and tobacco plantation. Interesting architectural features of the house, dominated by a long two-story gallery, include Flemish-bond brickwork on the façade of the east wing, the mouse-tooth cornice and stepped parapets with corbeled shoulders. The present kitchen wing was added around 1930, replacing what may have been the original 18th century portion of the house. In 1936, a formal garden was laid out based on a design by Charles Gillette. By the late 1980s, the garden had matured beyond its prime and the property’s new owners replanted it according to Gillette’s original plans. One highlight is the roses, which bloom in a continuum of intense to pale color, as recorded in the original blueprint. Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Kelly, owners
The Laing House:
Located down a wooded drive off Ridge Road, this debut property is a Georgian-influenced “American Country Home.” Custom built in 2007, the painted grey brick house with shake shingle roof overlooks the Moorman’s River. Each light-filled room takes full advantage of the extensive western views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as do the swimming pool and surrounding gardens. Inside the home, visitors are drawn through the central hallway into the living room and toward the mountain views beyond the blue slate terrace. Artifacts and furnishings collected by the owners during their many years of living in Asia and England include Asian antique furnishings and objets d’art, as well as some of the owner’s own Oriental brushwork paintings. Informal gardens surround the home and wider landscape with many seasonal flowering varieties. The owners have added continually to the gardens over the past nine years, while also salvaging and replanting some of the original material from the previous owner’s gardens, including Japanese maples and azaleas. Springs bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, lilies and crocus add splashes of color to the boxwood and other greenery. A double-blossom dogwood can be found amid the property’s 30 acres, many of which are wooded. A new stable and barn were added in 2010. Mr. and Mrs. Donald Laing, III, owners.
Set on 280 acres with extensive Blue Ridge Mountain views, Fox Ridge is an active equestrian farm, which visitors will notice immediately upon arrival. There are cross-country horse jumps in the front field, a Hunter riding ring, and a 20-stall working barn with close to a dozen horses in residence. The property, like others in the area, is part of the Farmington Hunt Club territory. Further along the tree-lined driveway is Quaker Cottage, the central portion of which is a log cabin that dates back to the 1800s. Next to the cottage, which is currently used as a guest house, is a small cemetery with two graves from 1797, nine unmarked graves, and a Williamsburg-inspired garden. The driveway winds past a small apple orchard and around a very large oak to the main house, a Neo-Georgian red brick home with slate roof. Built in 1945 and remodeled in 2015, the home is decorated with local art. One highlight in the dining room is the Venetian plaster walls installed by a local craftsman. Gardens on the property include a boxwood parterre garden, a vegetable garden, and a boxwood allee with flowering bulbs and shrubs. Planters surround the pool and lower terrace. Hellebores, hostas, daffodils, and lily of the valley line the side driveway.