Historic Garden Week tours will be held April 23-25 in Albemarle. Morven estate and gardens will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday the 23rd. Sunday’s tour, also from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., highlights Flordon, a neighborhood in a lush, rolling, woodland setting just west of Charlottesville, with access to five private properties. Monday features free tours of the Pavilion gardens at the University of Virginia, as well as Carr’s Hill, the U.Va. president’s home.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Landmarks Register, the three-story brick manor house at Morven was built c.1820 in the late-Georgian/Federal style by builder Martin Thacker for David Higginbotham, a local merchant. Its 19th-century ambience remains even after 20th-century additions and interior renovations. The land was part of the original 1730 Carter family land grant and was known to Thomas Jefferson as “Indian Camp,” which he purchased for his “adoptive son” Col. William Short in 1795, who in turn sold Morven to David Higginbotham in 1813. The last private owner, the late John Kluge, gave the farm to the University of Virginia Foundation in 2001.
Extraordinary grounds feature the formal and cutting gardens renovated by Annette Hoyt Flanders in the 1930s, as well as gardens added by Kluge. Tulips, phlox, lilacs, viburnum and deutzia, among other shrubs and perennials, fill a series of distinct garden rooms. Notable trees include a pair of Osage orange trees, the state champion Chinese chestnut, and a dove tree. Morven was a charter property open for the first Historic Garden Week in Virginia in 1929.
The Flordon tour includes five gardens: Credenhill, a stone Georgian estate with myriad garden paths leading to, among other highlights, a restored Gillette garden; the welcoming home of a young family, a stately hilltop home with extensive acreage and incredible views; a Dutch Colonial filled with American folk art; and a child-friendly garden-only home.
This is a walking tour and there may be uneven or slippery surfaces. Wear comfortable walking shoes. The tour is not handicapped accessible.
There will be shuttles to the Flordon neighborhood from the The University of Virginia Foundation parking lot, located on the grounds of Boar’s Head Inn, 200 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville. The last shuttle will depart the parking area at 4:15 p.m. No parking is permitted at the houses. There is also no roadside parking in the Flordon neighborhood and violators will be towed.
Tickets are $45 per person (children 6-12, $10) and are available at the designated parking area at the University of Virginia Foundation parking lot. Only cash or checks accepted. Tickets for Morven (at 791 Morven Drive near Charlottesville), $15, are sold separately.