Today, visited a few homes in Warrenton as part of the Virginia Historic Garden Week. I spent most of my time at Marshfield, home of Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell. The home was beautiful inside, all one level and just the right size–not too big and not too small (unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photographs to show you). I spent most of my time outside admiring the Appleton Gardens, re-visioned and re-designed by Colston Burrell. This place should appear in glossy magazines such as Garden Design or serve as a destination point for the Conservancy’s Open Days program. Colston, owner of Native Landscape Design and Restoration, has spent almost 3 years designing this property. I also met Karinn Fry, All Living Things Landscaping, who comes almost every day to take care of the gardens. Although Mrs. Mitchell is an avid gardener herself, it clearly takes many hands to maintain these outdoor “rooms”. Twelve of the 40 acres are gardens, from formal allees, to woodland gardens, to an edible section with raised beds. I took a lot of photos, too many to post here, because I loved the way that the plants were used. If you look closely the landscape is a balance of great swaths of signature Virginia plants while at the same time vignettes of unusual plants and unusual use of plants tucked in. There were masses of daffodils, bleeding hearts, tulips, epimediums, and fothergilla but also orange flowered fritillarias sticking straight up in one field and in another area, plugs of low growing Mexican hair grass on a gravel bed. The series of Japanese maples, each with varying foliage and color, was a nice touch along the boxwood allee. The promise of continuous bloom among the alliums, daffodils, phlox, and calycanthus in the luna garden was intriguing. The vegetable allee and parterre was a dream come true for veggie gardeners. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell for opening up your property to the public this week!
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