Posts Tagged ‘Gardens’

Halloween is definitely getting closer and if you don’t feel like driving to the ends of Richmond Metro to get a pumpkin or have a genuine Halloween experience, you are in luck this weekend.  Sunday, October 17 from 2-5pm the Edgar Allan Poe Museum downtown is having their own pumpkin patch and other Halloween activities for the kids.  Kids will be able to wrap mummies, go on a scavenger hunt, and decorate pumpkins.  There will also be “Poe-themed” face painting and even a black cat pinata.  Costumes are a must and there will be a costume contest to reward the best.  Of course this isn’t a farm so the number of pumpkins is limited.  In other words, if you want a pumpkin in addition to all the other fun activities, get there early.

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum has the world’s finest collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings.  It also has one of the most beautiful gardens in Richmond.  The museum is located close to where Poe lived and worked in Richmond in the early nineteenth century.  What better place to get the full creepy Halloween experience!  The museum is located at 1914-16 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23223.  Admission is $6 which is a lot cheaper than some of the pumpkin patches are charging this year.  Just watch out for ravens 🙂


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So, no worries about cooking this weekend, food festivals do not disappoint.  On Saturday, get out and enjoy the Vegetarian Festival.  Meat or no meat, the food lineup looks delicious:

  • Africanne on Main Amira Concession
  • Boka Truck 
  • Caffespresso
  • Cous Cous
  • Deluca Gelato 
  • Edith’s Catering
  • Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market
  • Flynn’s Foods, Inc.
  • Ginger Thai Taste
  • Good Foods Grocery
  • Grapevine Restaurant
  • India K’Raja
  • Melody’s Sugar Shack
  • Nile Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Phoenix Garden
  • Smoothie King
  • Soul-Ice Vending
  • Sticky To Go Go
  • Sweet’n’Vegan
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Twin Oaks Community Foods
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Zukay Live Foods 

There will also be plenty of vendors representing everything from yoga to gardening and veterinary care.  You can get a full list of vendors here.  There will be lots of non-profit organizations as well, including vegetarian, animal rescue, and environmental groups.  This is a great way to learn more about the non-profits in Richmond.  You can get a full list of the expected organizations here.  Don’t forget live music and cooking demonstrations.  Maybe I should just write this post once and keep cutting and pasting each weekend?  You don’t need to be a vegetarian to attend of course, you don’t even need to be considering it.  However, if you want to learn more about its benefits, there will be a full line-up of speakers through the day.  Some interesting performers will be there to keep your attention as well.  Jonathan the Juggler will be there (he is awesome if you haven’t seen him, and the kids will love him).  There will also be a belly dancer and people dressed in star wars costumes. 

This festival is also kid-friendly with the Kids’ Patch set up where kids can play.  There will be 2 moon bounces, spin art, and arts and crafts to wear the kids out.  One unique feature of this festival is how pet-friendly it is. Your dogs are welcome (finally).  And if you don’t have one, there will be animal adoptions there too. 

The festival is held at the azalea gardens in Bryan Park from 12-6pm on Saturday, June 19.  Admission is free, although the food and goods cost money so don’t leave the wallet at home.  This is NOT a rain or shine event.  If there is severe weather, the festival will be rescheduled for July 10.  The festival proceeds go to support one of my favorite Richmond charities, the Richmond Animal League.  Organizers are requesting that people bring canned vegetable donations for the Lambs Basket Food Pantry and pop-top cans of dog and cat food donations for RAL.

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I know I said I would never type the word “garden”‘ again, but in Richmond, that is just about impossible.  Besides, this is not another home and garden tour, and it’s not your daughter’s tea party either.  The Secret Garden Party is a progressive party that travels through five different urban garden sites downtown.  For those of you that have never been to a progressive dinner, a progressive party is basically a travelling party with different stops and features along the way.  This year the party will stop at the gardens of the Valentine Richmond History Center, the John Marshall House, the Museum and White House of the Confederacy, Monumental Church (Historic Richmond Foundation) and the VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Healing Garden.  At each “stop” you will be treated to different live music, cocktails, refreshments, and gallery/museum tours.   Each site will feature a different theme and food:

  • Monumental Church will host a “Very Virginia” themed night with Virginia’s signature foods and wines.  Food will be provided by Very Richmond Indeed Catering and live music will be Justin Smith’s Jazz Band Trio.  Wine samples will be from various Virginia vineyards.  
  • The Museum and White House of the Confederacy will feature BBQ from Double T’s (in Carytown) and more Virginia wines (come on, you can never have enough).  Live music will be provided by The John Conley Trio.  
  • The Historic John Marshall House and Garden will highlight the area’s “Federal” roots by featuring period dancers, traditional music, and Madeira (John Marshall’s favorite drink).  
  • The Healing Garden at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center  will feature champagne and desserts baked by Massey volunteers.  Live music will be provided by Classical Guitarist, Leah Kruszewski.  
  • The Wickham House Garden at the Valentine Richmond History Center will have a 1930’s theme featuring period food and vodka gimlets.  Live music will be provided by Campbell’s Ramblers and will focus on ballads, blues, and dance favorites from the 1920’s-1930s.  


Each location will also feature a piece of Richmond history including the Richmond theater fire, the Civil war, and John Marshall.  You can start at any of the five sites and walk from garden to garden, there is no required order.  There will also be a shuttle circulating among all the sites if needed, but all the sites are located within three square blocks. 

The party will be held Thursday, May 13th from 5:30-8pm.  Tickets are $30/Single and $50/Couple beforehand and $35/Single and $60/Couple at the door.  Your ticket price includes all your refreshments, live music, and admission to each museum garden.  No word on whether the cocktails and wine are included in that price, but it looks promising.  Tickets can be purchased online here.  This is the first year of this event, so please check back in with your reviews!

Here is an awesome map of all the gardens provided b RVA News:

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So today is Mother’s Day (not really but pretend your on Oprah or Dave Letterman or something where they film a day early because they won’t be around on the actual holiday) and as we have already discussed at length, moms love flowers.  That is probably why the Museum District Association holds their annual Home and Garden Tour every year (hence the “annual”) on Mother’s Day weekend. 

There are many beautiful homes on the tour this year, each with their own story:

  • 6 North Boulevard – Designed in 1921 by Marcellus Wright, a Virginia architect who also designed Richmond’s Landmark Theater.  
  • 16 South Boulevard Unit #3 – Condo featuring beautiful antiques in a building built in 1918. 
  • 3120 Floyd Avenue – A home built in 1915 that still has its original stair rail, wood paneling, moldings, fireplaces, doors and more.
  • 3124 Floyd Avenue – Arts and Crafts home  built in 1915 with original details
  • 3124 Patterson Avenue –  Home built in 1921.  Each room features work by a Virginia artist.
  • 3126 Patterson Avenue – Home built in 1921 featuring art and photography by local artists
  • 3317 Stuart Avenue – A home built in 1925 with historic details mixed with modern conveniences
  • 3400 Park Avenue – Classic American Foursquare  originally built on the corner of the W.S. Forbes estate. 

The tour runs from 1-5pm.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour at Albert Hill Middle School (where the tour begins).  Advance tickets are available at several places around Richmond including Ellwood Thompsons, Strawberry Street Vineyard (for those of you going to the Strawberry Street festival today), Cocoanut Jewelry (Willow Lawn and Short Pump), and  Williams & Sherrill.  Don’t forget this is a walking tour so wear comfortable shoes.  Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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Mother’s Day is the perfect occasion to finally cover Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, or at least part of it.  The Gardens are hosting a Mother’s Day concert from 1pm-4pm on Sunday, May 9th.  The concert is free with admission to the Gardens.  The concert will be held in the Garden at Bloemendaal House.   There will be some chairs and tables available, but its first-come first-served.  You can also bring lawn chairs and blankets.  There is an annual Mother’s Day brunch in the Tea House but it always sells out months in advance.  An alternative is a la carte dining at the Bloemendaal House.  No picnicking is allowed so don’t bring in outside food.     

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, like everything else in Richmond, has a lot of history behind it.  It is located on property that was previously a Powhatan Indian hunting ground.  Lewis Ginter purchased the land in 1884.  During his ownership, Ginter built the Lakeside Wheel Club, which was a place for Richmond bicyclists.  The building was later incorporated into the Bloemendaal House.  In 1913, sixteen years after Ginter’s death, his niece Grace bought the Lakeside Wheel Club. She remodeled the structure turned it into a convalescent home for sick children from the city.  Once the home was no longer needed, Grace moved into the house and called it Bloemendaal which means “valley of flowers.”   When Grace died, she left Bloemendaal to her friend and roommate Grace with the stipulation that after Grace died the city of Richmond develop the property as a botanical garden honoring Lewis Ginter. In 1968, Grace’s friend died and the city of Richmond took possession of the property, but did nothing with it.  In 1981, a group of botanists, horticulturists and Richmond citizens formed Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc.  The organization sued the city.  Both parties settled and the court ordered the formation of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  Why is it we always have to sue to get the government to do what they are supposed to do?  But I digress.  Today, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located on 80 acres in Richmond.  The garden is one of only two independent public botanical gardens in Virginia and is designated a state botanical garden.

Lewis Ginter is made up of many different “gardens” all with different themes.  

  • The Central Garden – Includes a garden built in the arts and crafts design, a healing garden, the arbor walkway, and a sunken garden with a reflecting pool. 
  • The rose garden – A newer garden that features 80 varieties of roses.
  • The Asian Valley garden – Features plants native to East Asia
  • The Martha and Reed West Island Garden – Displays a wetlands ecosystem
  • The Grace Arents Garden – A Victorian-styled garden
  • The Lucy Payne Minor Garden – Large collections of specialty daffodils and daylillies
  • The Margaret Streb Conifer Garden – A collection of dwarf conifers, located near the lake
  • The Vienna Cobb Anderson Meadow – A naturalistic meadow that features flowering annuals and perennials

The 11,000 square foot Conservatory is a landmark at Lewis Ginter and in Richmond. It permanently houses exotic and unusual plants from around the world and always features beautiful seasonal displays.   Right now Lewis Ginter is having its Million Blooms celebration until June 6.  The name of the event is somewhat self explanatory, but A Million Blooms also includes several other activities.   Their top exhibit right now is Glorious Glass in the Garden.  This exhibit features glass pieces created by Hans Godo Frabel.  Frabel’s pieces were given by President Obama to several world leaders at the G-20 Summit in 2009.  The glass pieces are incredibly intricate and beautiful.  They range from tiny to large scupltures.  The exhibit is free with garden admission. 

Another very popular area of Lewis Ginter is the children’s area.  But I will cover that, and some of their other very popular events in a different post.  Otherwise I would never be able to finish this post and publish!  In short, the Gardens are beautiful.  Moms love flowers, so you can’t go wrong with taking her here.  The Gardens are open from 9am to 5pm, although the Mother’s Day concert doesn’t start until 1pm.  Admission costs are $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3-12.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful, and not as hot, so enjoy! 

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I loved all your posts about the one thing that always represents Richmond to you!  For me, its Monument Avenue.  My first introduction to Richmond was driving down Monument Ave.  It was love at first sight and it has been synonymous with Richmond for me ever since.  Monument Ave. is the heart and soul of the city, the entry into the Fan, and a visual display of our city’s history and architecture.  If you want the full Richmond experience, you must go and experience it!

First, some history about the famous avenue.  The earliest proposal for creating Monument Avenue appears on an 1888 plat showing the subdivision of the Allen Estate west of the present intersection of Franklin and Lombardy Streets.  In 1890, an estimated 100,000 people showed up to see the unveiling of the first monument, a statue of Robert E. Lee.  The statue was first assembled in Paris before it travelled to Richmond where it was pulled  by Richmond residents in wagons to its final destination.  Bad economic times (somethings never change), however, stalled the development of Monument Avenue and for awhile, the Lee Monument stood alone in a tobacco field. 

Finally, in 1906, the city council approved the extension of Monument Ave West to the Boulevard.  In 1907, the road began to be paved with its well-recognized asphalt paving blocks.  In May 1907, the J.E.B. Stuart monument was unveiled at the corner of Monument Avenue and Lombardy in what is now known as Stuart circle.  Next month the Thomas Jefferson monument was erected at Davis and Monument Ave.  Monument Avenue quickly became one of the most fashionable places to live (again, some things never change!).   In 1919, the Stonewall Jackson monument was unveiled at Boulevard and Monument Ave.   

The Matthew Fontaine Maury Monument, located at Monument Ave and Belmont, was unveiled on Armistice Day, November 11, 1929.  Maury was called the “Pathfinder of the Seas” and was known for his work in oceanography and meteorology among other things.  Although he was a Commodore in the confederate navy, he is not widely considered a confederate war hero.  The statue was originally supposed to be placed in Washington D.C., but it was rejected because Maury had abandoned his career in the Union military to join the confederacy.  My research didn’t really find a straightforward answer as to why the Maury monument was chosen for Monument Avenue, but it is one of the most detailed and beautiful monuments on the Avenue.  It was also the first indication that Monument Ave was moving away from its confederate war heroes theme and focusing more on Richmond heroes.  In 1996, the final monument, Arthur Ashe was unveiled at Monument and Roseneath.  Arthur Ashe was a native Richmonder, humanitarian, and famous tennis athlete.  He gave permission for the statue in 1993, but died before it was completed.  I still remember all the controversy over where the statue was going to be placed.  After a lot of debate and a very long public hearing, the statue was placed at Monument and Roseneath.  This was a huge step by the City of Richmond to reassert Monument Avenue as a street honoring Richmond’s heroes, not just war heroes.  

Aside from its historical significance, Monument Avenue is also an awesome display of the architectural history of Richmond.  I, for one, could spend hours walking up and down Monument just looking at the houses.  Housing styles include colonial revival, spanish colonial, Tudor, French renaissance, Italian renaissance, mediterranean villa, arts and crafts, plantation style and more.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the economy suffered (again) and many of the larger mansions were turned into boarding houses and apartments.  Eventually, concerned citizens began converting the homes back to single family.  One of the tipping points was when the city tried to pave over the original asphalt paving blocks to lessen the noise (if you have driven on them, you know what they are talking about).  People pulled together (one even stood in front of the paving machine) and were able to stop the construction. 

Shortly after, in 1967, Monument Avenue was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.  In the early 1970’s, Monument Avenue became the ceremonial parade route in the city, and hosted the first Easter on Parade in 1973.  People who have “paraded” down Monument Ave on their way to the Governor’s mansion include:  Commander Richard Evelyn Byrd, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower, and Queen Elizabeth.  In the 1980’s the city began restoring and cleaning the monuments while people continued renovations on their homes.  Except for a few homes that were torn down over the years, Monument Avenue has survived mostly intact.  In 1989, the Monument Avenue historic district was expanded and in 1997 the Avenue was designated a National Historic Landmark.  It is the only street in the United states to receive that honor.   The only other district labeled as  a National Historic Landmark in Richmond is Jackson Ward.  In 2007, the American Planning Association named Monument Avenue one of the 10 great streets in the country. 

Today, Monument Ave. is at the heart of many Richmond traditions including Easter on Parade and the Monument Ave 10k Race.  You cannot have a Fan Home and Garden Tour without touring some of the grand homes on Monument.  On any given day you can see people walking and jogging up and down Monument Ave.  There are always sunbathers and people relaxing on the grassy median or around the monuments.  Lately, you can always find a good game of cornhole going on as well.  It is a great place for dogs, and trust me you will see tons of them (just watch where you step). You will always see people sitting out on front porches or makeshift rooftop decks people- watching and relaxing.  Monument Avenue is one of the most unique “streets” in the country, I’ve never seen anything like it.  I still sometimes go out of my way to take a drive down it.  Admit it, you do too!  What do you like most about Monument Ave?

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West Avenue is actually having 2 garden tours this week, one as part of historic garden week and one that is neighborhood based.  I’m covering them both here.

Today is the last day of Historic Garden Week activities in Richmond.  Today’s activities center on the tour down West Avenue in the Fan district.  You didn’t really think that garden week would go by without seeing anything in the Fan did you?  West Avenue, for those of you that haven’t seen it, is a smaller enclave neighborhood that consists of one street in the Fan.  To see a map click here.  The street is known today for its beautiful renovations, diversity of home styles, and fantastic gardens.  It is also known for its incredible community, which is reflected in its own neighborhood association, neighborhood crest, garden tours, activities, and residents.  The earliest known documentation of the street was in a Map of Richmond City dated 1873.  At the turn of the last century, West Avenue was on the cusp of Richmond’s westward expansion, and was called Stork Alley because it attracted young married couples beginning their families.  You will see storks in the neighborhood crest and throughout the neighborhood.  

The tour includes four homes on West Ave, one on Park and one on W. Franklin.  Home styles on this tour include Georgian Revival, Victorian, Dutch Colonial, 20th Century Rowhouse, and more.  Inside you will see antiques, various types of artwork, contemporary styling, and salvaged architectural pieces restored and used in renovations. 

The tour is held Thursday from 10-4:30.  Again, it is a walking tour so wear comfortable shoes.  Ticket prices remain the same.  Refreshments are supposed to be served from 2:30-4, although the location remains a mystery.  Perhaps you will be told when you purchase your tickets. 

Other Garden Week activities today are being held at Tuckahoe Plantation and Lewis Ginter.  Tuckahoe Plantation, which was featured in an earlier post, will have the gardens and house open for tours today.  Although the gardens are almost always open for self-guided tours, the home only opens for special occasions or by reservation.  The cost for the tours is $10. 

In honor of Historic Garden Week, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens will have extended hours on Thursday night, until 9pm.  Food will be available in the Garden Cafe until 7pm and can be “carried out” to eat at Bloemendaal House where there will also be wine-tasting and live music.  Seating is first come first served, but lawn chairs and blankets are ok.  The interior of the Bloemendaal House will be open until 8pm.  There will also be special tours and exhibits available.  You can get all the details here.    

If you can’t make it to the West Ave. Garden tour today, after all it is a work day, then you are in luck because this weekend is the 70th annual West Ave. Garden Tour (not related to Historic Garden Week).  This is the neighborhood’s premier event ot the year and includes all homes on West Ave. and a few on the bordering streets.  Back in 1966, famed landscape designer, Charles Gillette worked with some West Ave. residents to develop garden judging criteria and awards were added as part of the annual event. 

The tour is on Sunday, April 25th and is free (a much better deal than garden week prices) and open to the public.  There will be children’s parade at 12pm where the children present garden tour flags to the winning gardens.  The gardens for all homes will be open from 1-5pm.  This is just gardens, no homes are open.  You can get more information on this event here.

So, no offense intended, but I am thrilled Historic Garden Week is over for the most part in Richmond.  I am all gardened-out, at least for a while.  I look forward to the day that I don’t have to type “Garden” a million times!  Stay tuned for more fun non-garden related activities later this week (I know, I typed it again, now I can’t stop!).

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