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Historic Garden Week returns, with Fredericksburg event set for Tuesday
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Historic Garden Week returns, with Fredericksburg event set for Tuesday

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The Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week is set to blossom once again.

After the COVID-19 pandemic led to a rare cancellation in 2020, Historic Garden Week will add some color to select cities throughout the state April 17–24. At its core, the annual showcase opens up communities’ most prized private and public gardens for all to enjoy, learn and engage.

Among the 30 Virginia locales on this year’s schedule, the Fredericksburg date—hosted by The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club—is Tuesday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I hope everyone gains a bit of appreciation and knowledge of our local gardens,” said Karen Hedelt, co-chair of the 2021 Fredericksburg event. “Ideally, they can take something they’ve learned and act on it in their own gardens. And most importantly, I hope they have a wonderful day in downtown Fredericksburg.”

Spring Flower Arranging with Garden Club of Virginia member Jeanette Cadwallender in spring 2020. She will be one of the demonstrators for Fredericksburg's Historic Garden Week event on April 20.

For tickets, folks must book online at VAGardenWeek.org and will then be directed to pick up their tickets in-person at the tour headquarters, The War Memorial on the 500 block of George Street. The War Memorial itself will be a centerpiece on the big day. Throughout the event, it will bare massive and changing floral displays honoring military heroes from World War I through the Global War on Terrorism.

Admission to the Fredericksburg event includes admission to five private gardens and three historical sites. The event is a self-guided experience, and the five private gardens are all within a 12-block radius downtown. Whereas the homes adjacent to each garden have been fully opened in years past, the 2021 affair will be solely outdoors for the safety of guests.

“Historic Garden Week is more than 75 years old and it has certainly expanded and evolved throughout the years,” said Hedelt. “The evolution in the last two years has been extraordinary ... having to cancel last year for only the second time since World War II and now going totally outdoors for 2021.”

Among the private garden stops is the native plant and bird-clad haven at 726 William St. The property is owned by the cofounders of the Virginia Bluebird Society, Anne and Carl Little. Moving along, the celebrated “Rowe House,” at 801 Hanover St., is a must-stop and is owned by former Garden Club of Virginia President Jeanette Cadwallender and her husband, Nick.

Rounding out the private stops are 536 George St., 400 Hanover St. and 408 Hanover St. These span the spectrum in terms of colorful and unique experiences, including a carefully preserved estate, homage to Southern roots and spectacularly enhanced Greek Revival abode.

“To be a part of this, I hope it’s a point of pride for all of the owners,” said Hedelt. “It takes quite a commitment to open your garden to the public like this. But each home is held up as an example of fine maintenance and stewardship.”

As for the three historic places that will be open for touring, this year’s slate includes a trio of lush spots that were restored by the Garden Club of Virginia—the Mary Washington House, Kenmore and Mary Washington Monument. Mary Washington House will also kick off a plant sale in its museum store that day, according to Anne Darron, executive director of Washington Heritage Museums, featuring a curated selection from its gardens each week.

In addition to exploring the diverse grounds, there will be a number of special activities at select sites, spanning horticulture exhibits, floral design demonstrations and presentations on tree care and pruning, and more. Fredericksburg Visitor Center, Hurkamp Park and Maury Field will also have activities for visitors, serving as the principal pit stops for their self-guided journeys.

“We sought a variety of gardens and experiences for this year’s tour,” said Hedelt. “And, we really couldn’t have ended up with a better variety than this.”

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