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Thousands Expected for Historic Garden Week

A week of gardens, history open for spring tours.

Snow fountain cherry trees. Silver maples. Red twig dogwoods. Blue and pink hydrangeas. Crepe myrtles. Hollies. And, of course, flowers: daffodils, tulips, roses, irises, orchids and more.

They’ll all be on display for guests of Historic Garden Week, called “America’s Largest Open House,” during the peak of spring from April 22 to 29.

"This is our state's premier springtime tourism event, attracting more than 40,000 visitors from throughout the United States and abroad,” said Suzanne Munson, executive director of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week.

THE GARDEN CLUB OF VIRGINIA sponsors the efflorescent event, which features 250 gardens, homes and historic landmarks throughout the state. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour homes of some of the states’ notable citizens, past and present.

Of the 36 tours, three will take place in Northern Virginia, including tours in Alexandria, Falls Church and Fauquier County. The three area tours open this year present some of the state’s finest examples of landscape design and historical homes, spanning several centuries.

“This is a wonderful thing for the state of Virginia because the bulk of the proceeds go to restoring historic gardens throughout the state,” said Valerie Dove, co-chair of Historic Garden Week for the Fauquier-Loudoun Garden Club.

Members of local garden clubs, who organize the tours in their jurisdictions, will design and prepare hundreds of flower arrangements for the featured dwellings.

“We really create works of art from fresh plant material, and I think the visitors will really notice that,” said Lucie Holland, co-chair of the Alexandria tour, which takes place Saturday, April 22.

The Alexandria tour, organized by the Hunting Creek Garden Club and the Garden Club of Alexandria, features seven private homes and gardens in Old Town Alexandria. Holland said that many of the gardens demonstrate creativity in tight spaces.

“We really have a variety garden designs for having such a small area to work with,” said Holland. “We hope [local gardeners] are inspired by what they see.”

SEVEN HOMES in Falls Church will be on display on Tuesday, April 25 as part of the Fairfax Club Tour, sponsored by the Garden Club of Fairfax. A Victorian house built in 1904 by a Civil War veteran, an Italianate house built in 1890 and a townhouse with a backyard oak said to be 300 years old are just a few of the homes on tour.

“We also do some fabulous arrangements in nearly every room in every house on the tour,” said Tricia Goins, co-chair of garden week for the Garden Club of Fairfax.

The Fauquier-Loudoun Garden Club is hosting its five-home tour in the Upperville countryside on April 23 and 24. One of the attractions will be the 154-acre Saint Bride’s Farm. The architect, Nathan C. Wyeth, also designed the West Wing and Oval Office of the White House.

Greengarden, home of Confederate Maj. Adolphus "Dolly” Richards, features a trap door. The home is the reported origin of the “rebel yell."

The original dining room at the Maples, a stone house built in 1853, includes a door constructed around a large hole made by an errant shell during a Civil War skirmish.