May 1, 2018
There is perhaps no more beautiful place to experience springtime than in Virginia, a state that boasts four perfectly distinct seasons in addition to a wealth of history dating back to the origins of America. Last week, the Garden Club ofVirginia celebrated both season and heritage with the running of its 85th Historic Garden Week, the largest open house in the country. A network of 47 local clubs join forces for the event, which raises money to benefit historic gardens and landscapes throughout the state. Gardeners, architecture enthusiasts, and history buffs alike flock to Virginia for this annual rite of spring, where over 200 houses and gardens (many of which are private) open their doors for an eight-day period. This year, the Garden Club welcomed an estimated 28,000 people for a program featuring 29 tours coordinated by hundreds of volunteers.
From the rolling hills of Middleburg Hunt Country and Albemarle to the flat farmlands of the Tidewater, from Georgian to Greek Revival to Italianate and beyond, the breadth and diversity of the show provide endless opportunities for exploration. One owner described Garden Week as "one giant garden party;" another said it was "like taking the best of Virginia and opening it up for the world to see." One owner is already planting 400 bluebells in preparation for next year’s tour. However you look at it, Historic Garden Week is an impressive testament to the enthusiasm of its members and volunteers who have meticulously grown and evolved the program over the decades. Here’s a look at some of our favorites from this year’s tour:
Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Paris, Virginia, with commanding views of the Crooked Run Valley, Ovoka Farm is situated in one of the most painted and photographed settings in the Eastern United States. Built in the late 18th century, the home is an excellent example of American Federal architecture. The grounds and gardens in this bucolic setting include an impressive array of orchards, shade trees, magnolias and boxwoods.