The newest addition to the garden of Joe and Aggie Francis, which was planted after their pool broke in the 2011 earthquake. The Francis garden will be a stop on this year’s annual Herndon Garden Tour.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
Herndon The Herndon Garden Tour will be held Sunday, June 23 from noon to 4 p.m. The annual tour will feature four local residences and allow visitors to explore and learn about their gardens.
Joe Francis first got into gardening while still a student. He and his wife Aggie own three acres on Dranesville Road. The north side of their house is a shade garden, featuring ferns, gardenias and more. The backyard has several unique items, such as a weeping pine, which Aggie Francis calls her “pride and joy.”
Despite living in the house for more than 40 years, it was only a year and a half ago that some prime territory opened up for more gardening.
“Our pool broke in the earthquake a few years ago, and we decided to just fill it in and make it more garden space,” she said. “It’s a garden in progress, it usually takes about five years for one to come into its own. I try out a lot of things just to see if they work. If I like them, it will stay, otherwise it’s gone.”
She says she prides herself on a garden without “anything you’d find at Home Depot,” instead she reads catalogues and orders things she likes.
Another signature piece in the garden is a dwarf dawn redwood, which was originally thought to be extinct until the Smithsonian found some seeds in China. Joe Francis is a master gardener himself, having received multiple awards for his orchids, as well as recognition for growing plants for the Town of Herndon. He is currently president of the Fairfax Master Gardeners.
Another stop on the tour is the home of Kevin LeBlanc and Scott Mayhugh. The natives of New Orleans have patterned their yard after the French-style layered look.
“There are sections which have their own character, such as an heirloom rose garden, which we’ve layered with other things that complement it,” LeBlanc said. “The main goal is to have something with color and variety blooming at all times during the year.”
One side of the house is a woodland garden, which is shady and features peonies, vines and clematis. Another side is in the style of a rock garden, with alpine flowers. Even the strip of land next to the curb has been transformed into a Virginia wildflower garden.
The tour is self-guided, meaning once a ticket is purchased visitors can visit any garden during the noon to 4 p.m. time period. The four stops are: Joe and Aggie Francis at 680 Dranesville Road, Deb and Dave Heming, 917 Barker Hill Road, Bill and Janice Biggs, 310 Missouri Avenue and Kevin LeBlanc and Scott Mayhugh, 818 Locust Street.
Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at the Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Avenue, the Herndon Florist, 716 Lynn Street, and ArtSpace Herndon, 750 Center Street. The day of the tour, tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Herndon Community Center, and all tour stops.