We’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, not in Virginia. Our flowers begin to bloom in April, and beautifully so. From the tulips to the daffodils to the dogwoods, the April buds bathe Virginia in fragrance and color, which is exactly why the Garden Club of Virginia plans Historic Garden Week for the end of April, the peak of Virginia’s spring when the blooms are at their prime.
Historic Garden Week, also known as “America’s Largest Open House,” opens more than 250 of Virginia’s gardens and private homes to visitors looking to catch a glimpse of some of Virginia’s most beautiful blooms and historic homes. While many of the historic highlights in Virginia are open to the public throughout the year, there are a number of privately owned places off the beaten trail that are not, except during Historic Garden Week. From April 21 through 28, visitors to any of the places featured in Historic Garden Week will see amazing gardens and homes featuring stunning flower arrangements, many of the gardens restored or preserved through the proceeds of the event. Homes and gardens are grouped by region, and the ticket price includes admission to the places in that region. However, regions are only featured on specific days during the week, so planning ahead is a must!
On April 28, five locations along the Eastern Shore will be open for viewing, featuring trees over 150 years old, beautiful original architecture, and, of course, stunning flower arrangements and landscaping:
Open for the first time for Garden Week, this grand, 1914 neo-classic style house in Cape Charles overlooks the Chesapeake Bay through 100-year-old ash trees. Its colorfully planted town garden shares a back alley with its neighbors.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a Virginia Landmark, this 18th-century property on Cherrystone Creek, in Cheriton, reflects its 250-year stewardship by a single family. Its magnificent garden was established around 1800 and is considered the oldest continuously maintained garden in Virginia.
Built in 1784 by the father of Abel Parker Upshur, President John Tyler’s Secretary of State, Vaucluse, in Machipongo, was owned by the prominent Upshur family until 1844. A 2005 addition and carriage house join seamlessly with the older features and landscaping featuring a pecan tree, supposedly a gift from Thomas Jefferson, and an exquisite herb garden.
Noted for its traditional Eastern Shore design and loacted in Parksley, Cedar Grove’s seaside yard features towering magnolias and osage orange trees. Open for the first time for Historic Garden Week.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Beverly is a Georgian-style mansion in Pocomoke, built in 1770. Open for the first time for Historic Garden Week, visitors can see traditional architecture and sweeping landscapes down to the banks of the Pocomoke River.
Whether you visit the Eastern Shore, or any of the other 30 regions featured in Historic Garden Week, you are guaranteed to see some of Virginia’s most beautiful homes and April, not May, flowers.