Virginia Garden Week: James River

For part two of my visit to Historic Garden Week, I wanted to share the three enchanting plantations I saw that are located on the James River outside of Richmond. I had to catch a flight that rainy evening, so I was only able to visit 3 of the plantation homes. Despite the steady rain, I can’t even begin to describe how breathtaking it was to explore these historic estates and gardens.

I started first with the Shirley Plantation, where we had a lovely tea overlooking a boxwood garden. We then walked around the property’s vast landscape and went inside the home that is currently owned by a decendant of the founding owners. I could not take pictures of the inside of the home, where the entry way was the main event in terms of timeless taste. The floating stairwell was also incredible to see (unfortunately they didn’t allow pictures inside).

The second estate that we visited was the Westover Plantation. The clear frontrunner of the James River homes. This estate was full of ancient boxwood, superb Georgian architecture, and continues to exist as a working plantation under the owners who currently live in the home and were  present during the tour. Their young sons will be the fifth generation to call Westover home. The “Westover doorway” originated here, as did the founder of Richmond, William Byrd.

The last home I visited was the Berkeley Plantation. This home had the most phenomenal grounds and gardens of boxwood. Sadly, we couldn’t wait for the inside tour since we had to run to the airport. The house is situated on a idyllic edge of the river.

I hope you enjoy these photos and your Wednesday!

Photos by Christina Dandar For The Potted Boxwood

 

Shirley

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This plantation is still in the hands of the original family. It is the oldest family-owned business in North America, dating to 1638. I love the gravel….a sign of a true stately home.

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The entry is so smart and the benches really tie it together. The aesthetic is very relevant to present day.

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A glimpse of my friend Anne Marie in the doorway. A great oversized doormat and potted ferns flank the entry.

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English and American Boxwood for sale on the property.

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A boxwood garden. Ideal for reading on a spring day.

 

Westover

 

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And now to my favorite plantation…. The minute I saw this side entry…I knew it would be spectacular.

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170 year old tulip poplars and ancient boxwood line the gravel entry.

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The home is estimated to originate around 1730 and was built by William Byrd II, founder of Richmond, VA. An immense display of Georgian architecture.

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“Ancient” Boxwood surrounds the home. Don’t you just love that…”ancient boxwood.” How do I get some??

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The creation  of the “Westover Doorway.” Exceptional entry architecture.

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A little dark, but do you see the glory of the ceiling??

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A stunning home in every aspect. Not sure if it was ahead of its time, or just built as timeless as possible.  I think both.

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I adore the fabrics in the home, some of which have been updated,

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Blue velvet and blue and white!  The owner is a fan of my favorite color combination.

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The owner told me that for the summer seasons (before air conditioning), the family would cover all the chairs in a blue and white linen. It was believed the cooler colors and breezy fabrics would make it not seem as stifling.

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A history of blue and white here. What a special display!

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The back door. It could use some potted boxwood I think! 😉

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Now to the gardens…

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There is such a relaxed sense of these gardens, where as most plantations feel more formal.

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Winding grounds make for a fun walk, even in the rain.

 

BerkEley

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The first official Thanksgiving Day in America. Talk about historical!

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The entry surrounded by glorious boxwood.

 

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A view from the horizontal path of the entry surrounding the home.

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The back of the estate, surrounded by the James River and rows of boxwood.

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The side of the house, also on the river. I think the boxwood looks incredible separated in mounds. Also, the gazebo is dreamy.

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Further back on the property, the river is straight ahead. It was raining fairly heavily, hence the rain drop on the picture and the unclear view of where the grass ends and the river begins.

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A view of the house through the gardens in the back.

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