Garden Week Features Ivy Estates April 19 and 20

Foxhaven (Photo: Catriona Tudor Erler)
Foxhaven (Photo: Catriona Tudor Erler)

Virginia Garden Week comes to western Albemarle Sunday, April 19 and Monday, April 20. Four Ivy-area properties are featured this year, including Bloomfield, Verulam Farm, Foxhaven Farm and the Harris Home (gardens only).

Tours hours on April 19 are from noon to 5 p.m. and on April 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person, $10 for children 6-12. Tickets will be available at each property, except Foxhaven, and are good both days. Credit cards are accepted. Portable restrooms are available in parking areas at Foxhaven, the Harris Home and Verulam Farm.

Bloomfield, at 500 Bloomfield Road, was originally part of a 2,000-acre grant to Charles Hudson in 1735. The grand Jeffersonian-style home built in 1849 has been altered many times, serving as a private home, a preparatory school for U.Va., a finishing school for girls, and more recently as a home and school for handicapped children. The current owners eliminated all institutional vestiges and returned the home to its former glory. The gardens have enjoyed a renaissance as well. Hedges of ancient American boxwood are now flanked by lush perennial beds, mixed borders, flowering shrubs, specimen trees, and a pool with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Verulam Farm, at 99 Bloomfield Road, sits atop a knoll at the foot of Ragged Mountain, commanding a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge. The manor home dates to 1939 and was designed by Marshall Wells, who is known for his use of intricate moldings, high quality local materials, including Rockingham slate roofs and reclaimed “beehive” brick, and the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces. Of note is the heavy iron garden gate that he acquired from the White House when it was replaced with a taller one during World War II.

Wells worked with landscape architect Charles Gillette to design the gardens. Breezeways and brick paths through understated classical gardens befit the Georgian Revival house. The current owner has spent more than a decade restoring the home and gardens to their original splendor and has added a two-tiered vegetable garden, a small heritage orchard, and a nut walk leading to the woods. Adjacent to the equestrian facilities, a 100-year-old barn has been restored for use as a wedding and public-event venue.

Foxhaven, at 286 Foxhaven Farm, a sprawling 200-acre farm just outside the western city limits of Charlottesville, was acquired by the University of Virginia Foundation in 2012. Henderson and Jane Heyward bought the property in 1949, and over the ensuing decades Jane lovingly established gardens and trails throughout the property, and nurtured an eclectic mix of plant life. An avid lifelong gardener and member of the Albemarle Garden Club, she collected specimens of trees, shrubs and plants from friends and from her travels to create woodland gardens, perennial beds, a cottage garden, and shaded pathways bordered with bulbs and flowers. Something was always in bloom. Her hope was that her home and grounds could be an arboretum or botanical garden and she established a trust for the renovation of the garden.

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