Dating back to 1927, the first Historic Garden Week began as a fundraising effort to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. It has been a beloved annual tradition, hosted by the Garden Club of Virginia, for almost 100 years. Virginia’s Historic Garden Week occurs this year from April 15-22, 2023.
Every spring, visitors are invited to tour private, public, and historic gardens and landscapes from the foothills of the Shenandoah to the coastal plains of the Tidelands. Professional horticulturists and novice bloom admirers alike will enjoy bucolic garden scenes, expansive farm views, perfectly pruned topiaries, and more than a thousand floral arrangements.
Looking for ideas on where to start? We have created a selection of charming choices that will also allow you to take in Virginia’s award-winning vineyards along the way. Top off your day of perusing vistas with a delicious glass of rich Cabernet Sauvignon or crisp Pinot Grigio al fresco with this list of gardens and the conveniently adjacent wineries. A popular event, tours are expected to sell out in advance, so make sure to plan your visit today.
Albemarle County, Charlottesville, & Central Virginia
Date: Saturday, April 15 (Morven), Sunday April 16, & Monday April 17
Cost: $50; $20 for Morven Estate only
Begin where it all started, in the picturesque Albemarle County, home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. There, you can spend a day at the historic manor house at Morven. Built around 1820, the property retains its 19th century ambience and was given to the University of Virginia Foundation in 2001. Visitors will enjoy lilacs, viburnum, phlox, and other splendid spring blooms as well as the state champion Chinese chestnut tree. First opened to Historic Garden Week in 1929, Morven is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Step back in time and into this serene estate for a taste of history and foliage.
Where to Wine
To complement your exploration of Charlottesville and Albemarle, take advantage of the many beautiful vineyards that are within minutes of your excursion on the Monticello Wine Trail. Consider visiting Barboursville Vineyards, itself a historic property that also hosts fields of wildflowers to support their on-site honeybee hives managed by the forward-thinking Elysium Honey. There, you can enjoy a glass of Virginia’s most award-winning Octagon wine while dining at the elegant Palladio Restaurant.
Treat yourself to some refreshment at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, where you can take in mountain views amongst beds of wildflowers on their extensive outdoor patio area. They also have a charming chicken coop, greenhouse, and kitchen garden for guests to explore as well as special dinners and classes that range from cooking to flower-arranging. With over 40 wineries and vineyards within the Monticello American Viticultural Area, there are many beautiful places for wine tasting and a light lunch during your Historic Garden Week visit.
Leesburg & Northern Virginia
Date: Thursday, April 20-Friday, April 21
Photo Credit: Jeff Maurtizen, @jeffmauritzen
Located in the northern part of Virginia is Leesburg, the historic seat of Loudon County and home to many delightful neighborhoods and a walkable downtown. This year’s Garden Week will take visitors into the heart of Leesburg’s Historic District to examine 18th-20th century properties.
The self-guided walking tour will highlight five properties with beautiful restored gardens and tastefully updated interiors, beginning with St. James’ Episcopal Church, built in 1897. The first home on the tour lies on Wirt Street at a beautiful Queen Anne-style home that was built in 1894 with a secluded garden space and sprawling flower beds.
Next, visitors will head to Cornwall Street to view the remaining 3 properties: a Colonial Revival home built in 1950 with a half-acre property, a Federal-style home built in 1788 with impressive boxwoods and goddess Diana statue, and a second Federal-style home built in 1824 with raised vegetable beds and a spacious chicken coop.
Where to Wine
Photo Credit: Bruce Beddow
For a perfect way to round out the day, tour some of Loudoun’s scenic wine country. With more the 40 wineries and tasting rooms, visitors can experience barrel tastings, grape stomping, live music performances, and more. Cana Vineyards & Winery was recently honored with the prestigious Virginia’s Governor’s Cup for their 2019 LeMariage–a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. It was a historic year for the Governor’s Cup Awards, as not only was Maggie Natoli the first female winemaker to win the Cup, but there were also two other women honored in the Cup Case as well.
Harrisonburg & The Shenandoah Valley
Date: Wednesday, April 19
Nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley lies Harrisonburg, also known as "The Friendly City". This year’s Historic Garden Tour will take visitors to four distinct locations, all with the Shenandoah’s enchanting appeal. On this self-driving tour, the properties can be visited in any order. While the two private properties on the tour are entirely different, they both exude pastoral contentment with mountain views. One boasts hill-top views, a fruit orchard, and a modern exterior, while the other embraces a cottage aesthetic in a countryside setting. Visitors will also visit the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, part of a woodland sanctuary on the James Madison University campus.
Where to Wine
With the tour headquarters being the breathtaking CrossKeys Vineyards, visitors will have the opportunity to begin or end their Garden Tour by sampling some delectable wines. Take in the rolling hills of the valley while you try one of their four wine flights or sit back at their bistro. But with 22 wineries on the Shenandoah Wine Trail, there’s no need to limit your tasting adventure.
Take in the sunset dropping behind the Blue Ridge Mountains over acres of grape vines at Brix & Columns Vineyards, or sit on the hillside and sip vino by the fire pit at the family owned and operated Bluestone Vineyard, who just celebrated ten years and won the 2021 Shenandoah Wine Trail Cup.
Both garden lovers and those who enjoy beautiful wineries will be delighted by a visit to Virginia, especially during Historic Garden Week. Don’t miss your chance to soak in this year’s beautiful sculpted foliage, crafted flower arrangements, and astonishing natural views, as they are not guaranteed to be open again to the public.
As Gertude Jekyll once stated, “The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”