Historic Garden Week
A pioneering project of the Garden Club of Virginia, Historic Garden Week is a large house tour that runs for a week each April across the Commonwealth of Virginia. In its 78th year, the 2011 tour is of Virginia's most historic houses, as well as a sampling of other notable private residences. It is run from offices at the Kent-Valentine House on Franklin Street in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
In Virginia, the house pilgrimage or house tour is a regular feature of social life. Historic Garden Week is notable among the tours because it runs across the state, and includes not only old plantations, but houses of notable Virginians with newer wealth. In addition, it is one of the few times many notable private residences are open to the public. Operated by volunteers with a small headquarters staff, Historic Garden Week was created not only to show off houses and gardens, but also to fund the restoration of historic gardens lost to neglect.
The Garden Club of Virginia has restored many of the most notable historic gardens in Virginia since its founding around 1913. Over the years, funds from Garden Week have funded restorations of notable historic gardens at the East Lawn of the University of Virginia, Woodlawn, Scotchtown, Adam Thoroughgood House, Bacon's Castle, St. John's Mews, and other historic Virginia sites.
About the tour
Each "tour" during Garden Week encompasses a certain neighborhood or town; the tour each year also produces a guidebook with the history of the properties on the tour. The emblem of Garden Week are green and white signs with arrows that are the put up across the Commonwealth of Virginia in preparation for the tours. The history of the Garden Club of Virginia and Historic Garden Week is detailed in Christine Hale Martin's book, "Follow the Green Arrow." Each year, the Governor of Virginia writes the foreword to the Garden Week handbook.
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