Virginia Historic Garden Week tour is quickly approaching, and we here at The Gilded Lily are excited to take part in the festivities! In honor of VGHW, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the trends we’ve seen pop up this year on our tours. From unusual gardens to hidden history, read on to see what made this year’s tour so special!
The History of Historic Gardens in Virginia
Virginia’s Historic Gardens offer a wide variety of attractions and scenery to visitors. From the picturesque gardens of Williamsburg and Charlottesville, to the sprawling gardens at Monticello and Mount Vernon, there is something for everyone.
The first formal garden in Virginia was laid out by John Rolfe at his Mulberry Garden in Jamestown in 1619. Today, Jamestown National Historical Park contains over two hundred acres of gardens and plantations that are open to the public.
Following the founding of Jamestown, Virginians quickly began cultivating their gardens in order to attract wealthy settlers from England. The most notable early gardeners include Sir Christopher Wren and Thomas Jefferson, who both designed elaborate gardens at Monticello. Jefferson also played an important role in introducing European plants and flowers to America, which can be seen in many of his garden designs.
During the colonial period, gardening was seen as an important tool for managing resources and constructing social networks within communities. Many historic gardens today still serve this purpose by hosting weddings, receptions, or other events.
As Virginia grew into a state in the late 18th century, wealthy entrepreneurs began building large mansions along the James River. One of these estates was Talisman Estate on King George County near Nanjemoy Creek. The property became known as one of the most famous plantation gardens in America due to its extensive landscape featuring hundreds of blooming shrubs and flowers set against a striking backdrop of live oaks
The Top 5 Historic Gardens in Virginia This Year
Historic gardens in Virginia this year are showcasing a mix of old and new plantings, reflecting the changing world around them. Here are the top five historic gardens in Virginia this year:
1. Williamsburg Plantation Garden: The Williamsburg Plantation Garden features a variety of plants, including trees planted by George Washington himself, that reflect the Dutch and English garden styles of the 1700s.
2. Jamestown Settlement Historic Site: The Jamestown Settlement Historic Site has been restored to its 1607 look, with a focus on replanting traditional crops and medicinal plants used by the colonists.
3. Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens showcases over 2,000 years of history, from Colonial times to the present day. The gardens feature an eclectic mix of plant species that reflect the architecture and furnishings of various periods at Mount Vernon.
4. Henry Clay Estate & Gardens: The Henry Clay Estate & Gardens combine antique gardens with more than 2,000 specimen flowers and shrubs from throughout history – many brought back from European estates where they were used during aristocratic parties.
5. James River Museum Garden: The James River Museum Garden features a variety of historic rain gardens designed to capture stormwater runoff and reduce flooding in downtown Richmond.
What to Expect on a Historic Garden Tour in Virginia This Year
Historic gardens in Virginia are enjoying a boom this year as visitors search for unique and interesting places to enjoy nature. Here are some of the most popular trends observed on tours this year:
-More focus on plants native to the state, especially in urban gardens.
-More use of recycled materials and sustainable gardening practices, such as composting and rainwater harvesting.
-Visitors are discovering new garden styles, such as cottage gardens and herb gardens that focus on herbs and spices rather than flowers.
-Interest in learning about historical context and legends associated with particular sites is growing.
We had a blast touring some of the most beautiful gardens in Virginia this year, and we saw a lot of exciting trends in garden design. Some favorites included traditional English gardens, classic French formal gardens, and American landscape gardens with their signature rolling hills. There was even a bit of Japanese culture represented with an elegant tea house garden! We can’t wait to see Virginia Historic Garden Week.