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Style · April 25, 2019

Va. Historic Garden Week features tour of local homes

Warrenton Garden Tour
• When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, May 1-2

• Where: Four homes near Warrenton and Piedmont Environmental Council gardens.

• Tour headquarters: PEC, 45 Horner St., Warrenton.

• Tickets: $30 in advance, $40 during tour.

• Sponsor: Warrenton Garden Club.

• Policies: No photos, no smoking, no pets, flat shoes advised and no children younger than 17 without adult.

• More information: Click here.
Virginia’s Historic Garden Week will include a local tour of four homes and a new garden of native plants Wednesday and Thursday, May 1-2.

The 40-member Warrenton Garden Club, founded in 1911, will host the tour, with the Piedmont Environmental Council headquarters in Warrenton serving as the event headquarters. PEC’s offices on Horner Street also feature a recently-planted garden that showcases native plants.

Advance tickets, available online, are $30 per person. Tickets purchased during the tour will cost $40 each. Tickets will be available — for purchase by cash or check — at all tour stops.

For more information, email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Tour proceeds help fund the restoration of Virginia’s historic gardens and provide graduate level research fellowships. In celebration of the Garden Club of Virginia 2020 Centennial, funds have also been pledged to support Virginia State Parks.

Historic Garden Week — April 27 through May 4 — will feature 31 tours around the state. Forty-seven local garden clubs host the tours, featuring about 250 private homes, gardens and historical places. 

The spring tradition began in 1927, when Garden Club of Virginia members organized a flower show that raised $7,000 to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. The first tours, known as “pilgrimages,” took place two years later. Over the years, the tours have raised $17 million to support conservation and education.

The Warrenton tour will feature:

Piedmont Environmental Council, 45 Horner St.
Tour headquarters

In Warrenton since 1972, the PEC headquarters underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2014. The project included the reuse of the existing structure, a high performance building envelope made of locally available and formaldehyde-free materials, recycled content materials, low-VOC paints, low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting and a geothermal heating system.

PEC maintained the integrity and appearance of the historic section of the house, constructed in 1784 and once owned by Civil War cavalry commander John Mosby.

The renovation includes native flowers, shrubs and trees planted around the office. The garden features dogwood and oak trees, boxwood and a pollinator garden. To reduce stormwater runoff, the gutters and drains feed to swales and rain gardens. The garden was specifically designed to demonstrate how native plants can be useful and attractive within an urban setting.

Folly Hill Farm

Nestled in the Springs Valley west of town, the yellow frame farmhouse offers an elegant and comfortable haven for people and animals

Delightful details abound in this home originally built in 1833 and renovated to include all the luxuries of 21st-century living, including a kitchen designed to entertain. A screened porch was turned into a sunroom with triple-sash windows inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello that overlook a swimming and spa area surrounded by mountain views.

A stone walkway, which the owners call their own stairway to heaven, leads to a stable, providing plush accommodations for the equine residents, and serving as the site of an occasional dinner party. Attached to the stables is an entertaining area, built to house an antique wooden soda machine that the owners discovered in North Carolina. Today, the soda machine is in working order and anchors the pub-like atmosphere where friends and family will gather to watch the Kentucky Derby.

The grounds include a sand-riding arena, a tenant house, vegetable gardens and a chicken coop, nicknamed “Cluckingham Palace,” complete with a chandelier and decorative iron hinges. 

Wildcat Mountain Farm
Accessible only by shuttle from Great Meadow

Protected native flora, both meadow and woodland, line the winding ascent up the historic road, once home to a commercial orchard with more than 5,000 fruit trees. Diverse wildlife and pollinators thrive, seeking the native plants that supplement surrounding English-style gardens, managed pastures and meadow landscapes on this farm 1,330 feet above sea level.

Centered within a magnificent view of Fauquier County and steeped in the history of the rebellious Freestate, this 1906 fieldstone house is undergoing a third-generation restoration of a family estate while honoring the conservation and horticultural legacy of the owner’s mother and grandmother, both master gardeners and internationally renowned conservationists.

Restoration efforts include re-establishing stone and brick pathways and a brick walled garden, sourced from a demolished historic Alexandria home, originally built to house ancient roses and a formal kitchen garden with historic herbs noted by Shakespeare and the Bible.

Pollinator and ephemeral gardens remain a source of pride for the owner, as they demonstrate harmony between the farm and its adjoining 1,200 acres of protected land donated to The Nature Conservancy by the owner’s grandfather. The extensive grounds include horse pastures long grazed by generations of retired event horses, steeplechasers and hunters. A swimming pool is surrounded by flagstones distinctive in their metamorphic nature and quarried from the Bull Run Mountains.

Accessible only by shuttle from Great Meadow

Originally, this 1912 home was built as a two-story fieldstone farmhouse with a wide sitting porch to oversee the apple orchard for which Wildcat Mountain was named. Architectural renovations in the 1960s led to the thumbprint of what is now Valhalla.

The fieldstone used in the additions was sourced mostly from Wildcat Mountain. An arched main entrance, a glass cubed living quarter, a roundhouse reminiscent of the towers found in fairytales and a stone staircase leading to a rooftop vista view are a few of the many subtleties added. The main entrance hall features antique French light fixtures of hand blown glass, custom mercury mirrors and an antique butcher block table.

The rambling house includes many a cozy nook. The conservatory, originally a breezy porch, invites an afternoon reader to curl up with a book. The roundhouse and its wall of windows offer sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A stone wall that surrounds an herb garden anchors the northern lawn where a breeze can always be found due to a gap in the mountains.

Peacocks wander the grounds that include an apple orchard and a potage kitchen garden, complete with an espalier pear tree. Kwanzan cherry trees flank the side of the house, and numerous varieties of naturalized daffodils thrive in the rock outcroppings along the front of the house. 

Merry Oak Farm

This 1970s home, built of native fieldstone sourced from the farm property, hugs the brow of the hill, overlooking a 20-acre mountaintop lake and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Adjacent to the main house at the end of a covered walkway is a log cabin.

For many years prior to the construction of the main house, it was the family’s weekend residence. The open plan design of the interior common areas, which were combined with a variety of the more private rooms, has proven ideal for a family with five children, 11 grandchildren and numerous horses, dogs and assorted wildlife.

Throughout, there is evidence of the family's varied interests: The Maryland Hunt Cup steeplechase win trophy on the mantle below a painting of the winning horse “Sugar Bee,” paintings by the family artist and accolades for the owner's generosity as founder and donor of Great Meadow, the home of the Virginia Gold Cup and other community activities.

Surrounding the house, a machine shed, stable, chicken coop and flower gardens contribute to the creation of a self-sufficient homestead. A swimming pool with a summer house for outdoor fun is connected to the house’s grotto for possible winter exercise. English cottage-style flower beds backed by low stone walls help frame the views.

The entire farm has been preserved in perpetual open space easement, ensuring that future generations will be able to experience the beauty of the landscape.
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