Springtime is here, which means gardens in Northern Virginia are blooming with fresh flowers, plants and greenery. Explore these Virginia sites oozing with natural beauty and don’t miss special events during Historic Garden Week in Virginia.
Bask in springtime gardens around the city. This year’s Old Town Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour will be in a self-guided format, taking you along Old Town’s tree-lined streets on April 17, 2021, as part of Historic Garden Week in Virginia. You can also stroll the gardens at the historic Carlyle House. Fancy tea time? On April 22, tune into Carlyle House’s “Historic Gardens at Historic Sites” virtual lecture from Dean Norton, director of Horticulture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, complete with a tea box to enjoy at home filled with treats from The Spice & Tea Exchange and Firehook Bakery. Meanwhile, The Rectory on Princess Street’s “secret garden” is the perfect setting for a springtime portrait session when the tulip magnolia trees bloom in mid-March.
Bon Air Rose Garden - This hidden gem is an English-style rose garden with a spectacular range of 130 varieties of roses. Leisurely spend an afternoon wandering Bon Air Rose Garden’s carefully groomed walking paths, featuring secluded benches and lovely trellises. Peak bloom for the roses occurs from the end of May through June. Intermixed throughout the grounds are azalea and ornamental tree gardens as well as shade and sun gardens. Visitors can also explore the surrounding park, Bon Air Park, which includes playgrounds, picnic areas, a path and the Four Mile Run stream.
Netherlands Carillon - The grounds surrounding the towering Netherlands Carillon bell tower are planted with thousands of flowers. The most popular springtime attraction is the tulip bulbs. The colorful tulips range from bright reds and yellows to deep purple and pink. The peaceful grounds are the perfect place to find a quiet escape from busy city life. The grassy slopes and large trees provide many spots to settle down with a picnic lunch. Nearby, visitors can also see the Marine Corps War Memorial.
Fairfax County is home to more than 30,000 acres of green space, and among those acres are several unique garden landscapes perfect for reveling in the post-quarantine springtime blooms and temperatures.
One of the most exquisite is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, a 95-acre oasis tucked away in Vienna and home to the only traditional, public Korean Bell Garden pavilion in the Western Hemisphere. Stroll under the 100+ cherry trees that surround Lake Caroline, visit an array of native plant collections and large ornamental display gardens, or bring the kids to play in the Children’s Garden. This year, Meadowlark Gardens is part of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week celebration, where guests can additionally visit several private gardens in McLean on April 20, 2021.
In southern Fairfax County, visit Green Spring Gardens, which just celebrated 50 beautiful years. In addition to the stream valley, 20 demonstration gardens, native plants, and greenhouse, Green Spring also operates a national historic site that offers glimpses into a long and rich history with colonial origins. Guests can also partake in an exceptional variety of workshops, tea times, and events, for both children and adults.
Last but definitely not least, enjoy a different perspective with a visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, which features four bountiful gardens to explore and appreciate, from the formal pleasure garden to the kitchen garden, plus several other small nurseries.
Visit Oatlands Historic House and Gardens outside Leesburg. The five-acre formal terraced garden at Oatlands is considered to be one of the finest gardens in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The gardens were first established in the early 1800s by George Carter and later expanded by the Eustis family to include boxwood parterres, statuary, a teahouse, a bowling green, rose garden and a reflecting pool . Many of the plantings and original elements are still around today.
Known at the “Central Park of Loudoun”, Morven Park features not only a beautiful Greek-revival mansion but hiking trails and gardens developed in the 1920s and 30s. Enjoy magnificent boxwoods, wisteria and other flowers in the terraced garden and along the reflecting pool. The grounds are free to meander or register for a guided tour.
The Teaching Garden at the Benedictine Monastery - The Teaching Garden is a project of the Master Gardener Volunteers. It began as a garden to grow fresh produce for the Plant a Row for the Hungry project and a place where Master Gardeners could teach homeowners how to grow vegetables. The Teaching Garden displays low maintenance gardening techniques that homeowners can implement in their own gardens. It also features plant material that grows well locally.
Antique Rose Garden at Ben Lomond Historic Site - The grounds of Ben Lomond Historic Site are home to a 5,200 square foot garden of old roses (one of the largest public gardens devoted to antique roses in the U.S.)Inspired by a French garden, the collection has approximately 160 separate cultivars and 200 individual rose shrubs.