Just Gardens to showcase Westmoreland gardens

Now in its 19th year Just Gardens, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18 and 19, will open five Westmoreland gardens this year.

The tour will feature three gardens in the historic village of Kinsale and two gardens in the Hague area. Also open will be the Kinsale museum and several wineries in the area where tour goers can rest, relax and sample some of Virginia’s fine country wines.

Linda and Ann Lewis’ garden, 32 feet by 32 feet, is a patch of color and whimsy. Viewed from an equally impressive porch garden, this property ticks all the boxes. Tucked into the side yard of Linda’s childhood home, the “square” garden was created in honor of Linda’s mother Ann, reported CJ Carter.

Native perennials and an assortment of colorful annuals fill every nook and cranny of the raised beds garden, said Carter. Gravel paths and repurposed treasures and trash are embellishments to the five meticulously maintained beds within this enclosed garden. With the firehouse in the background this is a picture postcard of country gardening.

Steamboat Hill sits high above the Yeocomico River. The house built in 1910 was originally a steamboat captain’s home and is now owned by Shannon Reber, she said.

A long view to the river is seen through a shady avenue of willows. The foundation plantings consist of massive beds of perennials interspersed with a camelia, Japanese maple and other hardy shrubs. Spiraea, ninebark, several varieties of hydrangea, phlox and creeping jenny are just a few of the components of this Northern Neck, Zone 7 garden. A large deck, a screened porch, an open porch, a vine covered pergola connecting the main house to the garage, all offer opportunities to create niche gardens with a definite cottage feel, added Carter.

Phyllis and O.J. Hickox own the Courtney-Settle House, also in the village of Kinsale. Just across the street from the museum, the circa 1880 farmhouse with its white clapboard siding and standing seam roof, has wide generous porches that wrap around the house, she said.

A large flagstone patio provides a perfect observatory to view the side gardens, fish pond, faux wishing well and bird feeding station. Formal parterres are reached through a pergola. Beautiful pathways of brick, slate and stone surround the property and a holly hedge provides an evergreen backdrop to spring flowering trees and the flush of fall color, said Carter.

In nearby Hague, Lee Hall has seen three generations of women gardeners. Current owners Charles and Mary Young Tracy inherited the property which was bought by Mary Young’s grandparents in 1905. The gardens which are located near the house today, originally extended all the way to the road, she said.

“We wanted to enjoy our gardens up close,” said Mary Young.

A daffodil field in the shape of the U.S. is “tricky to mow” but a show stopper in spring. A beautiful fountain surrounded by raised containers filled with roses is fragrant in the spring and summer, said Carter.

Turner Waughtel, a professional landscaper, uses his own garden to “test drive” design ideas and plant hardiness. Several Japanese-style plants, an ‘Empress of China’ dogwood, tree peonies a ‘Black Diamond’ crape myrtle, are just a few of the exotica that surround Turner’s house, she said.

All chosen for their sun, shade, wet and dry tolerance, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from this country garden in Hague.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on tour days. Tickets and brochures are available at The Dandelion, Irvington Road, Irvington; The Pedestal, Main Street, Kilmarnock; Dreams Fashion Boutique, Jessie duPont Memorial Highway, Burgess. Shoppe for Haven’s Sake, Richmond Road, Warsaw; by mail until May 11, Just Gardens, P.O. Box 1267, Warsaw 22572; or www.havenshelter.org/justgardens.

Just Gardens proceeds benefit the Haven Shelter and services which has provided emergency shelter and services to individuals who have experienced sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in Essex, Westmoreland, Richmond, Lancaster and Northumberland counties. The two-day event has raised over $175,000.

Services include emergency shelter, 24-hour hotline, court and hospital accompaniment, individual and group counseling and support, information and referral, training and education for professionals, community groups and prevention programs.