Monday, May 7, 2012

Virginia Is For Garden Lovers

Virginia has some of the oldest gardens in the country, and they are all an easy drive from South Hampton Roads.  Visiting the gardens of Virginia makes for a lovely weekend trip, and if you truly want to experience it all, you can extend the experience over several days.

Some of the most famous gardens Virginia has to offer are found on the Virginia Is For Lovers website:  

Borrowing from this website, we'll list them and also post some photos to assist you in making your garden travel plans.

Charlottesville - Ash Lawn-Highland was the home of James Monroe and features boxwood gardens overlooking a working farm. Many events throughout the year take place here, such as Plantation Days and the Virginia Wine Festival.

Charlottesville - Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, is an architectural masterpiece with winding paths bordered by flowers and beautiful oval-shaped flowerbeds. Documentary evidence suggests that Jefferson grew approximately 105 species of herbaceous flowers!

Chase City - MacCallum More Museum and Gardens features an arboretum, herb, wildflower, rose and themed gardens as well as nine fountains and eclectic imported works of art.

Lynchburg - The Anne Spencer House and Garden was home to the internationally acclaimed poet of the Harlem Renaissance. The garden served as an inspiration for much of her poetry and may be toured by appointment only.

Lynchburg - Old City Cemetery features a butterfly garden, lotus pond and a garden of 19th-century shrubs and roses. The gates are open daily, dawn to dusk.

Montpelier Station - Montpelier, home of James and Dolley Madison features a 200-year-old-growth forest as well as a landscape arboretum, beautiful restored formal gardens all overlooking the breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Madison described his home as "a squirrel's jump from Heaven."

Richmond - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden features more than 25 acres of gardens, including a children's garden with colorful plants and shrubs to attract butterflies, birds and other nectar.

Richmond - Maymont is a 100-acre Victorian country estate. Visitors can wander the geometrically shaped beds in the Italian Garden and enjoy the relaxing noise from the cascade fountain, designed from a similar feature in the Villa Torlonia near Rome.

Richmond - Not far from Maymont, visitors experience a step further back in time when they visit Agecroft Hall, the Tudor estate that originally stood in Lancashire, England, and re-constructed on the rolling banks of the James River. Agecroft's grounds include the fragrance garden a sunken garden that's modeled after the pond garden at Hampton Court Palace in England.

Richmond - Next door to Agecroft Hall is Virginia House, a reconstructed 12th-century priory also dismantled and brought to Richmond from England in 1925. Terraced gardens overlook the James River. This property was awarded a medallion commendation by the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2000, one of few properties in Virginia to receive this award.

Richmond - Less than ten miles west of Virginia House is Tuckahoe Plantation, the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson. The rambling gardens are beautiful from March through October and visitors are welcome to peruse them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year 'round. The mansion, however, is only available for tours by appointment and during special events.

These are just a few of Virginia's beautiful historic gardens.  There are so many more plantations, historic homes and amazing museums that open up their gardens to visitors.  We'll highlight more on another post.

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