In 2020, the Garden Club of Virginia cancelled its annual Historic Garden Week for the second time since 1929; the first cancellation was during World War II. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many of us into master gardeners of change, patience, and innovation.
The members of 48 garden clubs that comprise the Garden Club of Virginia didn’t miss a beat. Last summer they began the planning to offer safe and enjoyable tours while complying with current health mandates. Beginning April 23, they will open 128 private gardens and dozens of historic properties in Virginia as part of “America’s Largest Open House.” Historic Garden Week includes eight days of tours in 25 different communities across Virginia.
At a time when gardens have become important spaces for relaxing and entertaining, the tours this year will showcase environments that make social distancing easy and enjoyable. From tiny patios to huge porches and sprawling gardens, we hope these outdoor havens will inspire those seeking to maximize the enjoyment of their own outdoor spaces.
Wistful Chairs & Contemplative Benches
Everyone loves a cozy nook or a hidden space to curl up with a good book or enjoy a glass of wine, especially when surrounded by lush plantings and favorite flowers. A conversation area also feels more intimate when there’s a sense of being enclosed within a garden.
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Water Features That Soothe the Soul
A calm, placid pool is peaceful, but the sound of running water is also relaxing. If you have a small garden, terrace, or patio, strategically adding a water feature will attract birds and other wildlife.
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Porches & Verandas
From quaint to grand, outdoor extensions of interior living spaces blend design elements to be compatible with a home’s architectural materials and style. These porches and verandas are ideal destinations for socially distanced entertaining at home.
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A Splendid Table
An outdoor table embellished with accoutrements such as linen napkins and candles absolutely requires a seasonal centerpiece. During Historic Garden Week this April, the Garden Club of Virginia estimates that more than 1,000 original, blue-ribbon worthy arrangements will be created by an army of volunteers to decorate the featured homes and exterior spaces.
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As the Garden Club of Virginia’s largest fundraiser, Historic Garden Week proceeds underwrite the ongoing restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes, as well as a research fellowship program for students in landscape architecture. To comply with COVID-19 mandates, the Garden Club of Virginia reduced the number of tour tickets available for sale, decreased ticket prices and implemented a timed-entry format. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit vagardenweek.org. As of press time, several tours have already sold out. Tours take place April 17-24, 2021.
By Karen Cauthen Ellsworth, Director of Historic Garden Week | Edited by Terri Robertson
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