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HISTORIC HOMES AND GARDENS

On a rainy day, we visited this historic home, Gunston Hall, and gardens-unfortunately the pictures are not a nice as they could be. Gunston Hall is located on the eastern side of

Some of the boxwood in the rear formal gardens are original and are over 200 years old. The pavilion in the front was recently added near the visitorís center.

In the rear are two garden houses at the back of the formal gardens. They were constructed to match the porch design but are recent configurations as the originals were not extant.

Boxwood lives many hundreds of years but does require some maintenance each year. In December, we thin the tight plant by reaching into it and cutting some out. This allows the light and air to enter and new growth begins in the spring. The dead leaves that accumulate in side at the base need to be cleaned out.

The result is a beautiful and studier plant. The side benefits are that the cuttings are used for many Christmas decorations (see our GARDEN CATALOG for purchase).

Gunston Hall is located on the eastern side of Virginia.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA-GARDENS

If youíve been to Williamsburg, Va. and want to take a new tour, try what we did one year. We purchased a book from the Williamsburg Gift Shop in the visitors center on the Williamsburg gardens and then went to all the gardens in the book. It took us to all the nooks and crannies of Williamsburg to see each special garden.

This was a completely different self-tour and was free for the walking.

LEWIS GINTER GARDENS, VA

While we are in Virginia, a garden worth seeing is the Lewis Ginter Gardens near Richmond. There is a newly-built conservatory and educational center along with their beautiful gardens.

It is well worth the trip just to see the gardens and children gardens. A tea house is across a small bridge for lunches and the ever-changing children's gardens are always good to see.

TO VISIT-GO HERE: www.lewisginter.org

LEWIS GINTER GARDENS-NATIVE FLOWERS

WINTERTHUR MUSEUM AND GARDENS, DE

Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware is located outside Wilmington on a rolling, country estate. The museum is worth the trip alone for the many decorative arts and room displays, as well as, the conservatory.

The gardens are in natural settings and there is a wealth of plants. In April and May each year the azalea and rhododendrons put on a fine display. They are old and huge plants!

Looking under the bridge, is you can see a marvelous wet garden that is filled with candelabra primroses. We have seen hawks and other birds in the forest areas.

The gardens are stunning any time of the year for different plants that bloom in other seasons. There are 2 places to shop and a dining area with special a special tea time area.

HISTORIC PLANTATION HOMES AND GARDENS, CHARLES CITY, VA

Before arriving at Williamsburg, to the west on Route 5, there are several plantation homes. They are still being farmed. Some are open to the public and some just have the gardens open. My favorite is WESTOVER perhaps because it is one of the oldest.

Iíve visited it several times and it is still peaceful there along the James River. There are some on the other side of the river, too, but you have to take the free ferry across at Jamestown and drive on Route 10.

SMITHíS FORT,VA

After the ferry, Smithís for is right on the other side of the James River. There is a later-built house of the 1700ís as you enter the property and behind that is Capt. Smithís (of Jamestown fame) retreat-fort. Actually, just the earthworks exist. This was the fort that he built in case of emergency and he and the people had to escape from Jamestown. That is a bit of† history that I never knew.

This property, along with Baconís Castle down the road and Jamestown, are owned and cared for by the APVA. The house on this property is the smallest example of early Georgian architecture that Iíve seen. Beautifully cared for inside, there is a blue room that has period furniture, as well as, three other rooms. The gardens were done to the period by the Virginia Garden Club. An interesting bench is there towards the back inside the hand-cut picket fence.

Emily visits Williamsburg, VA

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NORFOLK BOTANICAL GARDEN

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