Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Historic Garden Week: Fredericksburg Home and Garden Tour

The last full week of April is Historic Garden Week in Virginia.  This year marks the 80th anniversary of Garden Week, the oldest and largest event of its kind in the US, billed as "America's Largest Open House."  Garden clubs in localities throughout the state host tours of historic homes and gardens ... proceeds from the tour are used to restore gardens at state historic landmarks.

The Fredericksburg tour featured properties that were on the original Garden Week tour.  My mother and I always take this tour together (she is just as crazy about gardens and historic houses as I am, so it's a good match.) 

Our first stop was Fall Hill, a Georgian-style house built in 1770.

As we waited our turn to tour the house, I was studying and photographing the porch.  I got a couple of ideas that I hope I can use when I finally get around to finishing our porch.
There are flower arrangements everywhere on the tour properties, all done by garden club members.  Since there is no photography allowed inside the houses, I can only show you some of the ones outside.
Fall Hill had a number of outbuildings ... the ones I liked most were the Summer Kitchen and this green machine shed.
Our next stop was Snowden, built in on some of the highest ground overlooking the city of Fredericksburg.  The original house was built in 1815, but was destroyed by fire in 1925.  The current house was built a year later, replicating the original design as closely as possible.  (I totally forgot to take a photo of the front of the house.  Here is a photo that I am borrowing from the Free Lance Star.)
The stone cottage behind the house is believed to date to 1720.
The garden was designed in the 1940s by Charles Gillette, and it was restored in the 1990s using photos taken in the 1950s.  When work began on the restoration of the garden, it was quite overgrown.  Our guide told us that the workers found this original fish pond when one of them fell into it.
Each corner of the fish pond garden is anchored by a wisteria standard.  The trunk on each wisteria is huge, and they were all in glorious full bloom!
Another feature of Snowden's garden is this allee of Crape Myrtles.  I imagine that this is even more beautiful in summer.
Brompton is the home of the president of the University of Mary Washington.  It occupies a hill on Marye's Heights, and it was a witness to the heavy fighting in both of the battles of Fredericksburg during the Civil War.  The original four-room portion of the house is believed to date to the 1740s.
The Brompton Oak, a 300+ year old White Oak, still graces the front lawn.
It was in this very spot that Matthew Brady photographed Union soldiers sheltering under its branches.
The garden in the rear of the residence has a stone patio, which opens to a garden in the shade of three large magnolia trees.
This two-story out-building (I assume that it's a guest house or office) sat beautifully in the landscape.
As we left, it was wonderful how the brick walkway led us beneath the branches of another huge tree.
Our final stop was Belmont, a home built in the 1790s, most famous as the country home of American Impressionist artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne.
Belmont has a Georgian-style landscape around the house, which gradually gives way to more natural gardens and trails.
Mr. and Mrs. Melchers built a stone summerhouse in a prime spot, overlooking the Rappahannock River.
Trails lead from the summerhouse, winding through a very natural-looking garden.
'Solomon's Seal', one of my favorite shade plants
It was a long day for us, and Mom and I were both pretty tired by the time we finished at Belmont.  There had been so much to see, and we walked almost every inch of the gardens at each of the homes we visited.
I've been getting caught up on things here at home today ... and I hope to set out again tomorrow, to see what the Warrenton tour has to offer.


  1. What fun. That is just a gorgeous tour-one I would have loved to take- xo Diana

  2. Such beautiful homes and landscapes. Thanks for sharing your day with us:-)

  3. I love all the old brick and walkways. If only I could get my yard to look as nice.

  4. These are all lovely. Heck, I'd take the little tiny structures. Those are adorable!

  5. Great pictures, I so missed going on all the tours this week, but Warrenton's tour was good. Locust Grove still stands out in my mind! Awesome house.

  6. Spectacular! the only thing that came to mind.

  7. Oh thanks for the tour.....just now seeing it, but loved seeing the historic views through your eyes. By the way....please tell me you have a Temple Musk♥



Thanks for stopping by and reading what I share. Comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Spam and trolls are not!

Related Posts with Thumbnails