Welcome to the season of renewal in Virginia! It is the best time of year to explore the beautiful blossoms that are making the Commonwealth so colorful this spring. While it’s easy to go outdoors and discover wildflowers in almost every corner, find sanctuary in one of these gorgeous gardens to see the vibrant blooming flora all throughout Virginia this spring.
Historic Garden Week—Locations Throughout Virginia
Photo Credit: Matt Licari
This year marks the 89th annual historic garden week in Virginia. This week-long event offers a great opportunity to visit more than 250 different gardens across the state of Virginia. Experience spring blooms at their peak and visit historic homes with colorful arrangements created by the Garden Club of Virginia.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden—Richmond
Situated minutes away from Downtown Richmond on a historic property, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of the most incredible spots in Central Virginia to see a variety of spring flowers. Fifty acres of gardens include a conservatory with hundreds of orchids and several themed gardens, including a children’s garden that offers a treehouse and an adventure pathway. Whether you are visiting for a day of family fun or to bask in the beauty and charm, this year-round garden is particularly sweet in the spring. It is no surprise that Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a top attraction in the Richmond region.
Another gorgeous Richmond attraction, Maymont is a 100-acre property that was gifted to the community by Mr. James and Mrs. Sallie Dooley, who resided in the estate from 1893-1925. Maymont features several themed gardens including an Italian Garden made up of geometric flower beds, sculptures, and fountains that are reminiscent of the Villa Torlonia near Rome. Maymont’s Japanese Garden transports visitors with fragrant cherry blossoms in full bloom, water irises, and intricate stonework surrounding a tumbling waterfall. Stroll through their Arboretum or visit one of several specialty gardens to experience the beauty of the spring season.
Head over to Burnside Farms in Nokesville, Virginia for their annual Festival of Spring. This is the perfect colorful backdrop for a new family photo to display in your home or as your newest screensaver. At the opening of each spring season, visitors are welcomed onto the grounds, filled with over one million spring blooms. Fifty varieties of tulips are bursting with color in their fields. This family friendly event allows visitors to pick daffodils (2 for $1), and tulips ($1 per stem). For an additional dollar, you can take the bulb home to plant in your own garden. Admission includes games, activities, live music and vendors on weekends.
Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens— Harrisonburg
Situated on the campus of James Madison University, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens showcases the natural beauty that the spring season promises. Visitors are invited to walk the trails and pathways brushed with Virginia native plants, landscaped gardens and lush lawns perfect for a picnic or an afternoon of relaxation. Offering a number of cultural and educational programs throughout the year, guests can leave with a newfound appreciation for environmental preservation.
Photo Credit: Mark Atkinson, @me_atkinson
Take a trip back in time with a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, where you’ll enjoy 90+ gardens spanning over more than 100 acres of colonial era public buildings, homes, shops, and exhibits. Partake in a guided stroll through Rockefellers’ Bassett Garden, where an expert will share family stories and explain the design of the garden. If you have ever wondered about gardening techniques used back in colonial days, pick a date and visit the “Meet the Gardener” program. Explore the ornamental garden at the governor’s palace, or visit the vegetable gardens behind private homes on Duke of Gloucester Street.
Gloucester Daffodil Festival—Gloucester
Take part in what has been a Gloucester tradition since 1987. Each year, the town of Gloucester hosts a Daffodil Festival to welcome the new spring season. This event offers fun for the entire family, with a parade, face painting, games, activities, and live music. Participate in the daffodil show, attend the History of Bulbs and Blooms presented by Brent Heath, or tour the farms at Brent and Becky’s bulbs.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens—Norfolk
Image courtesy of Norfolk Botanical Gardens
The Norfolk Botanical Gardens offer an experience that is unique to Norfolk. Surrounded by Whitehurst Lake, guests have the unique ability to tour the gardens on foot or by boat as well as by tram. During the spring season, there are 15 gardens open to visitors, including one garden entirely dedicated to showcasing native Virginia plants. Visit one of the largest, most diverse collections of roses, azaleas and rhododendrons on the East Coast.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens—Vienna
Photo Credit: Patrick Lennon
With 95 acres to explore, spring is an excellent time of year to enjoy the unique and elegant Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, which contain a wide collection of native perennials. The gardens boast over twenty different varieties of cherry blossom trees, along with irises, peonies and colorful tulips. Experience the spring foliage while walking along one of several maintained trails within the gardens. The sunniest spring days offer the opportunity to visit the shade garden, home to many birds, butterflies and blooming wildflowers. Learn more about horticulture and gardening at a workshop, or partake in a tour of the grounds, while discovering all that there is to know about conservation.
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson, @cameron.davidson.usa
George Washington’s Mount Vernon is the perfect place to view spring flowers if you are a history lover. Displaying a variety of colonial-era buildings, including a functioning gristmill and distillery at the historic estate, Mount Vernon also boasts unforgettable gardens and landscapes. Originally overseen by George Washington himself, the gardens surrounding his mansion and were naturally designed with hundreds of plants, many native to Virginia, and trees, twelve of which are still alive today.
Photo Credit: Tom Hamilton, @tomhamiltonphotography
Netherlands Carillon offers a truly unique experience to visitors. Gifted to the United States by the Netherlands after World War ll, the bell tower is comprised of 50 bronze alloy bells, each delicately engraved. The bell is a symbol of the Netherlands’ friendship and gratitude towards the United States. Located next to the “Iwo Jima” Memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery, the tower offers an excellent view of the D.C. skyline and several monuments. The tower is surrounded by a colorful collection of tulips, all of which bloom during the spring season.
Photo Credit: Fred DeSousa
The gardens at Monticello have been acclaimed as a botanic showpiece. The gardens were more than just ornamental; during Jefferson’s lifetime, they acted as a source of food for the estate. Documented evidence suggests that Thomas Jefferson grew more than 105 species of herbaceous plants. The estate boasts several gardens, including the winding flower border that outlines the west lawn and twenty oval gardens within proximity to the house. The grove, originally housing Jefferson’s ‘pet trees’, offers visitors the opportunity to take a trip back in time, while exploring the spring blossoms and colors.