Virginia Gardener and her husband were married on their Middleburg estate shortly after purchasing the property in the 1970s. They share a passion for classic historic homes and the c. 1790 home on Seven Springs Farm met their hearts’ desires. Smack in the middle of Virginia horse country, the surrounding garden offers long views of rolling fields and distant hills.
Virginia’s property leads with her veggie garden and barn as any proper farm would. The plots for crops were not overly large but were chock full of really healthy looking produce, flowers and a bit of garden art here and there.
Virginia had walked down the driveway to welcome us. As we followed her back up toward the house it was hard not to be distracted by the views.
The gracious home comes into view. I am sure that 220+ years did not pass without changes to the house to meet the needs of the day but the home’s architecture remains marvelously cohesive.
The garden is divided into many distinct areas; both sides of the home feature a little more formality while the back has an open family friendly lawn.
As we rounded the home on the stone end we enter the herb garden near this charming small structure which I believe Virginia identified as the original spring house.
This vignette on the side of this rustic outbuilding features an ancient looking fountain framed by symmetrical boxwoods and iron trellises.
Meticulously maintained boxwood hedging of several heights separates the herb and secret garden from the broad expanse of the back lawn.
The perennial borders provide an area of transition from the lawn to the greater expanse of rolling grassland beyond the low rail fence. I loved that Virginia has provided numerous openings from the garden to the open fields, each one different and each one acting as the frame for a view worthy of a landscape painting.
Looking back at the home. The stone wall is a beautiful way to accomplish the elevation change and makes a nice background for the plantings. Classic boxwood define corners and walkways throughout the garden.
The perennial borders were not riots of color but had lots of variety so that there would always be something in bloom.
Deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, in addition to a variety of conifers, give the borders year round structure and interest, allowing the seasonal plants to wax and wane as they choose.
Wooden obelisks were staples of the border, offering vertical interest and a place for a variety of scrambling vines. Here you see one of the nodding bell shaped Clematis with blooms in all stages.
I would have been happy to sit on one of the gardens benches or up on the raised deck fitted for outdoor dining for the rest of the day enjoying this exquisite countryside.
Hands down this was my favorite place in Virginia’s garden. Another elevation change was accomplished with stone steps and this U shaped wall delineated a restful spot with a perfect view. Please take note of the bronze animal walking the back wall. I was not the only one who mistook it for coyote–several of us discussed it with interest for several minutes before a local took pity on us and identified it as a fox…you know, like in fox hunting…in horse country…duh.
These beautiful weeping trees (maybe Katsura?) camouflaged a wide side gate.
One of many great garden art rabbits.
Yet another gorgeous framed view!
A formal boxwood garden takes you from the sunken stone area up toward the shady swimming pool. Symmetry and sight lines rule.
The back of this calming pond accommodates another elevation change.
The faint limey green in these hosta leaves almost glow in this shady bed which delineates the boxwood garden from the pool area.
After several minutes rest in the shade by the pool and a glass of cold lemonade we weary garden bloggers bid good bye to Virginia Gardener and her Virginia garden. The distinct rooms of this garden estate have evolved over decades and speak to me of the cool mostly green gardens I remember so well from my years living in the Deep South. When you can achieve a beautiful garden that is also practical and looks good without spending every waking hour on maintenance, you have arrived!