The Garden Club of Virginia will present Historic Garden Week 2015, featuring House & Garden Tours offered Statewide, April 18-25. Tour proceeds will fund the Restoration and Preservation of Virginia's Historic Gardens and Grounds.
More than 250 of Virginia's most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks will be open during what is called America's Largest Open House. The statewide event “provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia's springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 fabulous flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members.”
Garden Week will begin in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday, April 18. The tour will include five urban courtyard gardens in the preserved area and refreshments at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. In addition to the private properties featured, the tour ticket allows access to: The Carlyle House Historic Park, Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, George Mason’s Gunston Hall and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. To read more about the tour in Alexandria, visit
Image at right: a garden in Old Town Alexandria - Photo courtesy of The Harborfront Garden
The DC Design House
The 8th Annual DC Design House will be located at a new country estate in McLean, VA, and will be open at select times, April 11-May 10. Twenty-three of the DC area’s top design firms have been selected to design the 27 spaces in the house. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Children’s National Health System. The 8,869-square-foot home replicates an Old American Farmhouse such as might be found in Virginia's rich countryside, but the house will offer all the amenities of modern living.
The annual Georgetown House Tour, which is “the oldest, most prestigious house tour in the country,” will take place on Saturday, April 25 and will showcase ten historic residences. Houses are arranged for easy walking at participants’ own pace and in their preferred order. A tour booklet for each participant will provide useful information, including a map of the houses. The tour is hosted by historic St. John’s Church, where Parish Tea will be offered in Blake Hall. The tour is sponsored by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and Long and Foster. Proceeds from the tour benefit the outreach ministries of St. John's church, including the Georgetown Ministry Center, Jubilee Jobs, DC Volunteer Lawyers and the Salvation Army Grate Patrol, as well as the upkeep of St. John's.
Brookside Gardens began a massive makeover in 2014, when they broke ground on Phase I and II of their Master Plan. Though the construction focuses on a limited section of the Gardens, the changes will be transformative. As part of the process, they have canceled a number of larger events which would normally take place, including the Garden of Lights Show,Earth Day Festival, St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt, Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit, Native Plant Sale, Spring and Fall Lecture Series, Summer Twilight Concert Series, many plant shows and sales, Children’s Day and the Pumpkin Panache Family Festival.
Friends of the National Arboretum will present their annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale, April 24-25. The event is enjoyed by gardeners with skills ranging from novice to expert, and it’s a great time to see the Arboretum’s collection in full bloom. Businesses donate plants for sale, and others may also donate plants. The Fair is held in the New York Avenue parking lot, and food will be available for purchase. The Washington Revels will perform on the 25th.
The U.S. Botanic Garden is exhibiting Exposed: The Secret Life of Roots thru Summer, 2015. The exhibition features the work of agricultural ecologist Dr. Jerry Glover, photographer Jim Richardson and sculptor Steve Tobin “to showcase the importance of roots through visually stunning displays, root representations and educational materials." In the spring, the terrace raised gardens will highlight living specimens of prairie plants and edible roots. Beginning in March and going through the summer there will be hosting classes, programs, children’s activities and demonstrations associated with the exhibition.
The Smithsonian Natural History Museum & The U.S. Botanic Garden is exhibiting Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty, thru April 26 at the Museum. (The exhibition was displayed in 2014 at the Botanic Garden.) Every day, the exhibition “displays more than 300 orchids and explores the crossroads where orchid botany, horticulture, and technology connect, featuring orchids from the orchid collections of the Smithsonian Gardens and the Botanic Garden. The exhibit “looks at how new ideas, technologies, and inventions change the way we study, protect, and enjoy orchids.”
Click on the arrow at rights to see a video about "Orchid Symphony," which the Museum & Botanic Garden displayed in 2014 at the Botanic Garden.
Garden & Groves: George Washington’s Landscape at Mount Vernon is on view thru May 30, 2016 in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. The museum exhibition is the first to focus specifically on Washington’s achievements as a landscape designer. Rarely-seen original documents, artworks, and books are displayed, along with period garden tools, gorgeous landscape photography, and a scale model of the Mount Vernon estate.
Image at right: East Front of Mount Vernon, attributed to Edward Savage, ca. 1787-1792; oil on canvas - In the earliest known view of Mount Vernon from the east, the artist captured the short-lived "paddock of deer," inside the picketed fence in the left foreground. The fence was not visible from the yard, creating the intended illusion that the deer roamed wild. Bequest of Helen W. Thompson, 1964 (H-2445/A) - Photograph by Harry Connolly
Mount Vernon is exhibiting Nine Paintings from John Chapman in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center Museum thru May 30, 2016. Chapman painted the series of nine romantic landscapes depicting historic sites from the first president’s life one hundred years after George Washington’s birth.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon can now be seen via “an immersive virtual tour.” The tour features 29 stunning, 360-degree panoramic images, more than 200 points of interest, and dozens of in-depth videos highlighting architectural details, objects, and anecdotes. The virtual tour “recreates the experience of being at the estate in an unparalleled way.” To take the tour, visit www.mountvernon.org/virtualtour Click on the arrows designating various place inside and outside of the house.