Historic Garden Week in Warrenton
Stay tuned for details about our next tour in 2021.
"Each spring visitors are welcomed to over 250 of Virginia's most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during 'America's Largest Open House.' This 8-day statewide event provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia's springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,300 flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members."
The Warrenton Garden Club biannually hosts tours of Fauquier County homes and gardens during Historic Garden Week in Virginia. Tour proceeds help fund the restoration of Virginia's historic gardens and provide graduate level research fellowships. In celebration of the Garden Club of Virginia 2020 Centennial, funds have also been pledged to support Virginia State Parks.
Conservation and preservation have been central to The Warrenton Garden Club and The Garden Club of Virginia from the beginning. Held on May 1 & 2, the 2019 driving and shuttle tour highlighted the benefits of protected lands and perpetual open easements, juxtaposed between rolling Piedmont hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and bustling urban and suburban centers to the east. Within this bucolic setting is a thriving equestrian community, which visitors experienced while touring the stable and sand-riding arena at Folly Hill Farm. The tour headquarters, located at the offices of the Piedmont Environmental Council in Old Town Warrenton, in contrast, showcased a native plant garden specifically designed for an urban setting and offered easy access to local restaurants and shopping.
Tickets included admission to Folly Hill Farm, Valhalla, and Merry Oak Farm, as well as the native plant garden at PEC. Regrettably, Wildcat Mountain Farm was removed from the tour because several boxwood bushes on the property were affected by boxwood blight, a highly contagious fungal disease that results in defoliation and decline of susceptible boxwood. Learn more about best management practices by clicking here.
Scroll down to see photos of and learn more about these properties.
Thank you to our 2019 property owners, volunteers, and sponsors!
Blue Ridge Bank, Claire's at the Depot, Gateau Bakery Café & Tea Room, Horse Country, JPN Antiquities, Latitudes Fair Trade Store, Old Town’s the Open Book, Red Truck Rural Bakery, and Wright Realty. Additional thanks goes out to the Fauquier Bank for purchasing recycled paper for tour brochures, Oak View Bank for funding ticket production, the Paint Shop and Carter & Spence for advertising in the Garden Club of Virginia state guidebook, and to Virginia Gold Cup and Great Meadow Foundation for providing Gate #8 for a shuttle stop location.
We couldn’t have done Historic Garden Week without the support of this wonderful community!
Piedmont Environmental Council Native Plant Garden
Located in Warrenton since 1972, the PEC office headquarters underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2014 that included the reuse of the existing structure, a high performance building envelope made of locally available and formaldehyde-free materials, recycled content materials, low-VOC paints, low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting and a geothermal heating system. Great care was taken to maintain the integrity and appearance of the historic section of the house, which was initially constructed in 1784 and once owned by Civil War cavalry commander John Mosby. Only the original 18th century structure is visible from the sidewalk directly in front of the building to complement the historic appearance of Old Town Warrenton. The renovation also includes native flowers, shrubs and trees planted around the office. The garden features dogwood and oak trees, boxwood and a pollinator garden. To reduce stormwater runoff, the gutters and drains feed to swales and rain gardens. The garden was specifically designed to demonstrate how native plants can be useful and attractive within an urban setting.
Folly Hill Farm
Nestled in the Springs Valley, this yellow frame farmhouse offers an elegant and comfortable haven for family, friends and animals alike. Delightful details abound in this home originally built in 1833 and renovated to include all the luxuries of 21st century living, including a kitchen designed to entertain. A screened porch was turned into a sunroom with triple-sash windows inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello that overlook a swimming and spa area surrounded by mountain views. A stone walkway, which the owners call their own stairway to heaven, leads to a stable providing plush accommodations for the equine residents, and serving as the site of an occasional dinner party. Attached to the stables is an entertaining area, which was built to house an antique wooden soda machine that the owners discovered in North Carolina. Today, the soda machine is in working order and anchors the pub-like atmosphere where friends and family will gather to watch the Kentucky Derby. The grounds include a sand-riding arena, a tenant house, vegetable gardens and a chicken coop, nicknamed “Cluckingham Palace,” complete with a chandelier and decorative iron hinges.
Wildcat Mountain Farm
We regret to announce that Wildcat Mountain Farm will no longer be part of the tour because several boxwood bushes on the property have been affected by boxwood blight. Boxwood blight is a fungal disease that results in defoliation and decline of susceptible boxwood. Boxwood blight is highly contagious as the spores are sticky and easily cling to clothing and footwear. Any item that has been in contact with infected plants becomes a means to spread the blight. As a safeguard against the spread of boxwood blight, please avoid contact with all boxwood while on the remaining tour properties. The Warrenton Garden Club very much regrets having had to take this step but has done so in the interest of all boxwood owners including the owners of our other tour properties. We appreciate your understanding and hope you will enjoy our 2019 tour. Learn more about best management practices by clicking here.
Protected native flora, both meadow and woodland, line the winding ascent up this historic road, once home to a commercial orchard with more than 5,000 fruit trees. Diverse wildlife and pollinators thrive, seeking the native plants that supplement surrounding English style gardens, managed pastures and meadow landscapes on this farm located 1,330 feet above sea level. Centered within a magnificent view of Fauquier County and steeped in the history of the rebellious Freestate, this 1906 fieldstone house is currently undergoing a third-generation restoration of a family estate while honoring the conservation and horticultural legacy of the owner’s mother and grandmother, both master gardeners and internationally renowned conservationists. Restoration efforts include re-establishing stone and brick pathways and a brick walled garden, sourced from a demolished historic Alexandria home, that was originally built to house ancient roses and a formal kitchen garden with historic herbs noted by Shakespeare and the Bible. Pollinator and ephemeral gardens remain a source of pride for the owner, as they demonstrate harmony between the farm and its adjoining 1,200 acres of protected land donated to The Nature Conservancy by the owner’s grandfather. The extensive grounds include horse pastures long grazed by generations of retired event horses, steeplechasers and hunters. A swimming pool is surrounded by flagstones distinctive in their metamorphic nature and quarried from the Bull Run Mountains.
Originally, this 1912 home was built as a two-story fieldstone farmhouse with a wide sitting porch to oversee the apple orchard for which Wildcat Mountain was named. Architectural renovations in the 1960s led to the thumbprint of what is now Valhalla. The fieldstone used in the additions was sourced mostly from Wildcat Mountain. An arched main entrance, a glass cubed living quarter, a roundhouse reminiscent of the towers found in fairytales and a stone staircase leading to a rooftop vista view are a few of the many subtleties added. The main entrance hall features antique French light fixtures of hand blown glass, custom mercury mirrors and an antique butcher block table. The rambling house includes many a cozy nook. The conservatory, originally a breezy porch, invites an afternoon reader to curl up with a book. The roundhouse and its wall of windows offer sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A stone wall that surrounds an herb garden anchors the northern lawn where a breeze can always be found due to a gap in the mountains. Peacocks wander the grounds that include an apple orchard and a potage kitchen garden, complete with an espalier pear tree. Kwanzan cherry trees flank the side of the house, and numerous varieties of naturalized daffodils thrive in the rock outcroppings along the front of the house.
Merry Oak Farm
This 1970s home, built of native fieldstone sourced from the farm property, hugs the brow of the hill, overlooking a 20-acre mountain top lake and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Adjacent to the main house at the end of a covered walkway is a log cabin. For many years prior to the construction of the main house, it was the family’s weekend residence. The open plan design of the interior common areas, which were combined with a variety of the more private rooms, has proven ideal for a family with five children, 11 grandchildren and numerous horses, dogs and assorted wildlife. Throughout, there is evidence of the family's varied interests: the Maryland Hunt Cup steeplechase win trophy on the mantle below a painting of the winning horse ‘Sugar Bee’; paintings by the family artist; and accolades for the owner's generosity as founder and donor of Great Meadow, the home of the Virginia Gold Cup and other community activities. Surrounding the house, a machine shed, stable, chicken coop and flower gardens contribute to the creation of a self-sufficient homestead. A swimming pool with a summer house for outdoor fun is connected to the house’s grotto for possible winter exercise. English cottage-style flower beds backed by low stone walls help frame the views. The entire farm has been preserved in perpetual open space easement, ensuring that future generations will be able to experience the beauty of the landscape.