Historic Garden Week blends old and new

Historic Garden Week in Virginia celebrates 85 years this spring and the commemoration takes place April 21-28. As part of Historic Garden Week, The Williamsburg Garden Club will host a spring home and garden tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 24, rain or shine.

Ticket holders will have the opportunity to admire the interior and exterior beauty of several homes during the event. This year’s tour will feature a combination of historic and modern residences and their gardens and landscaping. Lightfoot House and Tayloe House in Colonial Williamsburg will be on display as well as four private homes and gardens within Governor’s Land at Two Rivers. The tour will also include a visit to Matthew Whaley Elementary School’s award-winning children’s garden, “Mattey’s Garden.”

The Williamsburg Garden Club’s 55 active members and 25 associate members are all involved in planning and preparation of the spring home and garden tour each year. Between 200 and 300 community volunteers also lend a hand.

“This year’s tour promises a delightful blend of contemporary and historic Williamsburg homes and gardens, complemented by our members’ beautiful arrangements,” says Linda Wenger, publicity chairwoman for the event. Wenger, who also provides flower arrangements for this year’s tour, has been a part of the Williamsburg Garden Club since 2009.

“Besides showcasing our community and our state each year, the Williamsburg Garden Club is pleased to support Historic Garden Week with proceeds that fund the restoration and preservation of more than 40 of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes, a research fellowship program, and a new partnership with Virginia State Parks,” Wenger said.

This will be the third time in recent years that The Tayloe House on East Nicholson Street will be a part of the tour. The home was built between 1752 and 1759. Current resident Kay Wilkinson moved in to the house in 2008, a year before she showcased the house for the first time on the tour.

Interior key features of the house include floor-to-ceiling raised panel walls in the dining room; an 18th-century bracket table in the entry hall; and an early 19th-century pendant light, also in the entryway.

“These pieces are very much original to the time period of the home,” says Wilkinson, who has decorated her home with both historic and modern décor. “The house lends itself to a blending of the old and new. A lot of people are surprised by that.”

Wilkinson enjoys being involved with Historic Garden Week.

“I like it when people come to Williamsburg and see what our historic houses look like,” she says. “The women involved with The Williamsburg Garden Club do such a good job with the tour and make it such a wonderful experience for everybody.”

For a complete list of events and ticket information on Historic Garden Week, visit vagardenweek.org.

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