Historic Garden Week Is Back — Tour Virginian Homes and Gardens

Eyre Hall on the Eastern Shore, photo by Diane Ginsberg

Historic Garden Week is back! The last time I wrote about this great event was in 2019, before the pandemic. Although some gardens were open last year, this year Historic Garden Week is back full scale. Starting Saturday April 23 through Saturday April 30, 2022, you can tour private and public gardens throughout the commonwealth of Virginia. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV), Historic Garden Week (HGW) is an annual event for the public to tour almost 200 private homes and gardens and historical sites in Virginia.

Janeway house in Ashland, photo by Scott Macdonald

A non-profit organization, the GCV is comprised of 48 member clubs. Proceeds from the annual HGW, which originated in 1927, fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historical gardens and provide graduate level research fellowships for building comprehensive and ongoing records of historic gardens and landscapes in the Commonwealth. For more than 80 years, the grounds of Virginia’s most cherished historic landmarks including Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the Executive Mansion in Richmond have been restored or preserved using proceeds from this statewide house and garden tour.

This year there will be 28 tours hosted by volunteers at local GCV member clubs. The tours are divided into 5 regions: North, South, East, West, and Central parts of Virginia. This annual event is coordinated and managed by 3,075 volunteers who spend months planning in advance. Many members create beautiful floral arrangements for the homes. It is estimated that 2,000 floral arrangements will have been made for this year’s event.

Brown’s Cove in Albermarle, photo by RL Johnson

The schedule is available online and tickets can be purchased in advance. For some tours, tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour. Tours are held rain or shine. Properties can be visited in any order. Also available is the Guidebook, a 200-page, beautifully illustrated publication, which can be downloaded, purchased online, or picked up free at designated public places. The Guidebook has descriptions of the tour sites, directions, refreshments, special activities in the area, and other places of interest which usually include historical sites that can be toured at other times of the year (for future reference). The Guidebook is a snapshot of the touring area; it lists names of the sponsoring Garden Club member organizations; area information such as Chamber of Commerce & historical societies; and advertisements from local businesses such as garden centers, antique stores, and restaurants.

Santillane in Fincastle (west of Roanoke), photo by Donna Moulton

If you have not attended before, vagardenweek.org is a very informative website with a list of frequently asked questions. There also is a short promo video that was filmed in 1951 showing three women touring the gardens in a convertible. Dressed elegantly in coats, white gloves and hats, these ladies look like they are having a grand time touring around the countryside viewing historic homes.

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