Oatlands in Leesburg, photo courtesy of GCV
Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV), Historic Garden Week (HGW) is an opportunity for the public to tour almost 250 private homes and gardens and historical sites in Virginia. “Historic Garden Week has raised millions of dollars for the restoration of public gardens across Virginia,” noted HGW Chairman Alice Martin. “Tour proceeds are used to enhance Virginia’s landscape.” For 82 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. The beginning of HGW dates to 1927 when a flower show organized by the GCV raise $7,000 to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson on the lawn at Monticello. A non-profit organization, the GCV is comprised of 47 member clubs and 3,400 volunteers. Proceeds from the annual HGW 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.
Old Town Alexandria, photo courtesy of GCV
This year there will be 31 tours hosted by volunteers at local GCV member clubs. The GCV has member clubs in 6 regions: Northern Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Virginia, Capitol Region, Shenandoah Valley/Central Virginia, and Southern Virginia. For example, in the Northern Virginia Region, there will be tours in Old Town Alexandria, Leesburg, Clifton-Fairfax Station, Warrenton, Front Royal-Warren County, and Winchester on various days between April 18 and 25. “It’s the largest ongoing volunteer effort in the state,” said Karen Miller, HGW Director and Editor of the Guidebook. “In addition to the amazing interiors and gardens on display, the GCV volunteers will create over 2,000 spectacular floral arrangements to decorate rooms open to the public. Most of the flowers will come from their very own gardens.”
Front Royal–Warren County, photo courtesy of GCV
The schedule is available online at http://www.vagardenweek.org and tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour at numerous locations or in advance. Tours are held rain or shine. Properties can be visited in any order. Also available is the Guidebook, a 240-page, beautifully illustrated publication produced to support the event. The Guidebook 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.
For more information, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 644-7776. The website is http://www.vagardenweek.org. GCV has done an excellent job of providing information and photos on their web site plus they are present on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.