America’s Largest Open House is Virginia’s Oldest Volunteer Tourism Project.
Presented by the Garden Club of Virginia, Historic Garden Week encompasses 30 tours organized and hosted by member clubs. For more than 80 years, the nation’s only statewide house and garden tour has contributed to our state and regional economies. The economic impact of Historic Garden Week over the last 45 years is estimated to be over $425 million.
Coming originally from England, early Virginians brought with them an inherent love of the land. They created splendid plantations with noble homes and handsome gardens. Without organized protection of this irreplaceable inheritance, the Garden Club of Virginia foresaw its inevitable destruction. Starting in 1929, they made it their most important work to preserve our state’s historic public gardens. From Monticello, Mount Vernon, Bacon’s Castle, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, to the State Arboretum in Winchester, to name just a few – a full diversity of gardens is represented in our projects.
Since 1920 the Garden Club of Virginia has grown from eight founding clubs to 47 clubs with over 3,300 members. It is the coordinated efforts of these talented volunteers, along with the generosity of over 200 private home owners across our Commonwealth, who make Historic Garden Week possible. The Garden Club of Virginia’s horticultural programming and flower shows inspire one of Historic Garden Week’s greatest attractions, the world-class floral arrangements created by club members featured in every home on tour. We estimate over 2,300 will be created especially for Historic Garden Week this spring.
"Today, there are over 40 active Garden Club of Virginia restoration projects statewide"
Think about what Virginia would look like if it weren't for this annual event. Read about and plan your visit to the public gardens benefitting from Historic Garden Week. Additionally, in a continuing effort to build a comprehensive record of historic gardens in Virginia, the GCV offers annual research fellowships for landscape architecture students working toward a MLA or equivalent.