Friday, May 9, 2014

Historic Garden Week, VA.

With the arrival of May comes one of my favorite times of year!!!  
Historic Garden Week in Virginia, brought to us by The Garden Club of Virginia:)

Since 1929, the garden club has preserved and restored the grounds and gardens of many of Virginia's historic landmarks through proceeds from this week long event!!!  This event is not to be missed, and it's statewide!  Every day from April 26-May 3, 2014, a different area of Virginia was highlighted, my dear friend Marissa and I visited Lynchburg, VA.  on Tuesday, April 29th!  This huge event offers up a chance to visit over 250 of Virginia's most elegant gardens, homes, and historic sights, not to mention an up close viewing of over 2,000 of the most beautiful spring floral arrangements created by Garden Club members:)  Properties change yearly, I'm looking forward to visiting a new tour next year....already!!!     
Proceeds also fund fellowship programs for graduate students of landscape architecture, your ticket really contributes to the longevity of  beauty for generations to come!!!

Start with a delectably, beautiful lunch out, or at home!  For Marissa and I, I prepared a white wine roasted chicken paired with a fresh, spring salad of spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado, blueberries and walnuts dressed lightly with oil, vinegar and lemon.  We also enjoyed french chocolate and vanilla macaroons, blueberry scones with strawberry compote and coconut dipped dates.  Water, a cordial of Rose and an Elder flower lemonade (by Belvoir ) completed our palate!  Bon Appetit!!!  

Now that we were nourished properly;)  We were ready to head out into the mist of the day!  
Our first stop, Linden Ave.  Built in 1964, this lovely house stood before us, beckoning us to come in!!!  Filled with interesting objects, the pieces that caught my eye, were the small hand painted pieces of art from The Middle East.  The home of a portraitist, there is an abundant mix of local, national and international pieces of art and sculpture.  The external garden's are as breathtaking as the interiors of the house, filled with abundant azaleas(which always remind me of my Mother's gardens from childhood), Jacob's ladder, Iceland poppies, peonies, boxwood, tulips, pansies, dogwood and beautifully bloomed roses.       

Our next stop was just down the road on Colonial Court, this house was my personal favorite!!!  A 1927 bungalow designed by two Lynchburg Architects, this house was exquisitely dressed in a soft gray paint, perfectly popping the luscious local and original American artwork that flanked the walls and rooms!  I was in heaven as soon as I entered the parlor door, just off the screened in porch!  You could tell the owners had a love of beautiful things, antique silver, french linens, old books and interesting chandeliers and curiosities surrounded you at every turn!  Yet the entire house was open and airy, there was the perfect balance of quiet space in every room.  The gardens here began along the front porch and spilled into the backyard where an old garage was converted into a lovely outdoor dining space filled with an antique patio set and lovely potted floral.  The Dogwood and fig trees were beautiful, and the sweet, powdery smell of the peonies are still with me, days later!         

Stop three was on Greenway Court.  A simple, soft yellow, Cape Cod built in 1955 greeted us as we drove up to park!  Decorated in cherry paneling and local artwork on the interior, the house also boasts a beautiful, hand crafted mantel in the living room, created by the homeowner!  The sitting area that looked out through wide windows onto the garden below was one of my favorite features!  Boxwood and azaleas were the main garden feature, beautifully manicured from the front of the home through the backyard.

Stop four was on Northwood Circle.  A ranch style home, these gardens have been tended to for the last twenty years!!!  Classic and clean, the interiors of this home displayed a love of Herend porcelain, antique sporting prints and etchings and a lovely 1751 map of Virginia by Jefferson and Fry.  The backyard is one Marjorie Merriweather Post herself, would be proud of, a clean circle for garden parties or croquet match surrounded by boxwoods, hydrangeas and crepe myrtles.  

Stop five sent us to Rivermont Ave. where a tall, blue 1900 Colonial Revival house greeted us!  But don't let the outside fool you, inside you'll find a dramatic mix of art deco and art nouveau pieces collaborating with old family heirlooms and modern artwork created by the owner!!!  The gardens which begin at the front entrance and line the base of the home are an elaborate dance of fern, iris, and viburnum.  A peaceful Buddha and Bonsai add a touch of zen before you approach the graceful swim of the orange koi in the circular pond of the back garden.

Our last stop and perfect ending to the afternoon, was at The Anne Spencer House on Pierce Street.  This Queen Anne house was home to the celebrated Harlem Renaissance poet and avid gardener, Anne Spencer (1889-1975).  The interior and furnishings have been left as they were for 73 years, while the Spencer's lived in the house.  The home reflects a life of hospitality and creativity in the dramatic colors in the rooms, from the floral patterns in pillows to the Chinese dining set, to the lovely throw rugs that grace the floors.  The long, outstretching, slim garden off the back of the house includes Anne's writing cottage and a small fountain.  Anne wrote: "This small garden is half my world.  I am nothing to it when all is said.  I plant the thorn and kiss the rose, but they will grow when I am dead."  In 1983, the garden was restored to it's 1937 splendor by the Hillside Garden Club, which continues maintenance today.   

Keep your eyes and ears perked for next years chance to visit Historic Garden Week, it's just another, wonderful opportunity to get outside and be surrounded by all things beautiful:)
Be sure to check if your State has an Annual Garden Week and Go!!!

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