Summer 2023, Issue 22
Jean E.R. Gilpin
Chairman, GCV Restoration Committee
Winchester-Clarke Garden Club
Featured Historic Property
A Mill Like No Other: The Burwell-Morgan Mill

"We’ve driven by this place so many times but have never walked in until now. This is incredible!”

If you were to take a walk into the Burwell-Morgan Mill on a summer weekend, or during the Art at the Mill show, this is a phrase you might hear uttered repeatedly from first-time visitors. The bucolic grounds surrounding the Mill have always been a draw for those passing by, or those who want to enjoy a sandwich from nearby Locke Store outside with the Mill as a backdrop. For over two centuries, the Burwell-Morgan Mill has been a center of this quiet little Millwood community and has helped grow tourism in Clarke County.

Nathaniel Burwell, a Tidewater planter, and Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War general, undertook the construction of the original stone mill in 1782 and completed it in 1785. For much of the Mill’s life, it was a commercial mill, grinding thousands of pounds of grain per day. At the height of production, the Mill operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, producing both flour and grist for shipment worldwide. By the 20th century, the Mill had fallen into disrepair and its future looked bleak. In 1964, the Clarke County Historical Association (CCHA) acquired the Mill and, through restoration and fundraising efforts led by Board President Helen B. Byrd, the Mill was brought back to its former glory. In 1973, CCHA began its partnership with the Garden Club of Virginia. Over the years, the GCV has performed numerous projects which include creating a landscape setting for the Mill grounds, adding wooden and stone bridges, restoring perimeter fencing, and reworking the entrance walkway and grounds to remediate flooding and possible damage to the building. Predominantly native plants were used to enhance the Mill and its spillway.

Today, the Mill is host to numerous events throughout the year. Art at the Mill, which began in 1990, continues to bring in more than 300 artists and 1,000 works of art twice a year. This past April, the spring showing of Art at the Mill opened during Historic Garden Week and hosted a record number of visitors to the Mill.

Although not the commercial Mill it once was, the Burwell-Morgan Mill continues to grind grain and welcome visitors from all over the region.

Submitted by Nathan Stalvey
Clarke County Historical Association
Nathan Stalvey
Helen Byrd
Featured Head Gardener
Update on Jefferson’s Poplar Forest Rose Beds
Recreating Jefferson’s Esthetic

In November 2020, Will Rieley, former Landscape Architect for the GCV, contacted me and shared his vision for the restoration of the rose gardens at Poplar Forest. At this time, the only plans had been done on paper. I began tending to the beds at Poplar Forest in April of 2021. The first year was about watering and feeding. The second season I watched for new growth and worked on filling out the beds. Three missing Alba maximas were added to the center bed. This is their second season in the garden, and they are starting to thrive. Other Pompon de Bourgognes have been added to the left oval bed to provide plenty of blooms while we continue to search for a Rosa mundi.

The rose beds were designed and placed very intentionally through the collaborative efforts of Monticello's Curator of Plants Peggy Cornett, Rieley and Poplar Forest's Director of Archaeology and Landscapes Dr. Eric Proebsting. Based on landscape archaeology accounts, as well as 1816 Jefferson journals that described the three beds in detail by dimension and varieties and a watercolor painting, the plan was to replicate the original design and plantings.

Cornett put together the list of roses for the project. The comments following the rose name and class are notes about the origin of the roses used in the project. (see below) These are wonderful roses with historical value that are easily maintained. Cuttings of these roses are available at the Tufton Center for Historic Plants as well as at Poplar Forest.

The rose beds have made a huge impact on the grounds according to Proebsting, “Adding these plantings has recreated Jefferson’s esthetic. It’s the first time anybody in recent history has gotten to see what Jefferson’s view would have looked like.”

Poplar Forest President and CEO Alyson Ramsey, adds "The restoration of the oval beds was the final element in a series of four landscape restoration projects generously funded by the Garden Club of Virginia. All four features – the restored double row of mulberry trees, ornamental clumps of trees, recreated carriage turnaround and replanted oval beds – were central to Jefferson’s overall creative vision for the landscape and villa. We will be forever grateful for their partnership.”

Ramsey concludes, “With respect to the oval beds in particular, the beds are carefully stewarded by Kaye Moomaw who ensures that the roses are thriving and the beds are always looking their best, for whose assistance and dedication Poplar Forest is enormously grateful!”

Submitted by Kaye Moomaw
Hillside Garden Club
The Rose List:
MUSK ROSES (white):
2 Double Musk (Rosa moschata plena) from the Crenshaw family plot in Hollywood Cemetery
3 Single Musk (R. moschata)
1 Bremo Musk (R. moschata plena from Bremo Recess)
2 Double Musk from Hollywood Cemetery, Temple family plot
1 Millbrook Gallica (R. gallica variety found at Millbrook, the Epps’ family homesite near Dillwyn, VA.)
1 Apothecary Rose (R. gallica officinalis)
1 Tuscany (R. gallica ‘Tuscany’—which is believed to be the Black Rose that Jefferson received from Margaret Bayard Smith in 1808)
1 “Elegant Gallica” from the Historic Wyck House and Garden in Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Site dates to the 1690s and the roses to the 18th century
1 ‘Charles de Mills’ gallica, pre 1790s. Very vigorous and beautiful red
2 Rosa centifolia ‘Pompon de Bourgogne’
A Plant Worth Knowing
Sweetbay Magnolia
Magnolia virginiana

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia) is a beautiful native semi-evergreen tree that is hard-working, versatile and an ecological powerhouse. It is at home in a small courtyard garden, an expansive country estate or an urban setting.

DESCRIPTION: Sweetbay magnolia grows upright, reaching 12-40 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide, with multiple trunks. It has silver-green leaves that shimmer in a light wind. The tree’s fragrant flowers are like miniature blooms of the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). They are creamy white and 4-6 inches across, blooming in late spring to early summer. The cone-shaped fruit that follows is also ornamental, bearing bright red seeds in fall. In Virginia, the tree can be found in forested swamps and wetlands, and along stream banks.

CULTURE: The sweetbay magnolia will adjust to most soils — rich loam, sandy and clay. It prefers well-drained moist soil, but tolerates wet and boggy soils. It prefers full sun to part shade (blooming best in sun). The tree has no serious disease or insect problems and tolerates city air pollution.

ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS: Insects and birds, as well as waterways, will love the addition of a sweetbay magnolia to the garden. It produces pollen and nectar, food for birds and caterpillars, protection for wildlife and nesting for birds. It is host to the sweetbay silk moth and 20 other species of moth and butterfly. Its tolerance of wet and boggy soils makes it a wonderful candidate for planting in areas that hold water.

LANDSCAPE USE: The sweetbay’s upright growth habit makes it a great candidate for planting on the corner of a foundation, or in other areas where space is somewhat restricted. It naturally grows as a multi-trunk tree, but can be found commercially trained into a single trunk. Its width can easily be controlled by pruning to maintain fewer main trunks/branches. To enhance the beautiful form of the tree, prune suckers and small cross branches. The tree can be limbed up to allow underplanting of perennials, fern, hosta, and Lenten rose. The tree is an excellent choice for an informal light screen. The sweetbay also makes a lovely allee, especially when slightly limbed up. If planted near a porch or patio, the lemon-scented blooms will be enjoyed in May and June.

Submitted by Meg Turner
The James River Garden Club
Restoration Committee Member

Audubon Society
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Association
The Living Landscape, Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy
Missouri Botanical Garden
Chesapeake Bay Program
Arbor Day Foundation
Archaeology 101

Archaeological investigations can range from searching for the site of a colonial plantation over hundreds of acres of woods and fields to locating the footprint of outbuildings around historic houses. Regardless of whether the task is a large-scale survey or trying to find an individual building, archaeologists will first check all archival sources for clues such as historic maps, early highway department aerial photographs, and the always hoped for Mutual Assurance Society building diagrams that were first issued in 1795. Modern technological developments like LIDAR frequently can locate sites, particularly landscape features, while ground penetrating radar is especially useful in detecting vanished buildings.

Nonetheless, finding archaeological sites in any circumstances invariably involves the systematic excavation of shovel test holes, typically at 50’ interval or less following a grid. Areas where a concentration of shovel test holes has yielded artifacts indicating the presence of a site are then further examined by excavating test units to check the stratigraphy across the site and determine if there are intact archaeological features like refuse pits or building remains.
Example of archaeological surveying showing initial survey shovel test hole and subsequent test unit excavation. 
Trying to identify outbuildings requires more detailed and intensive testing that may include the excavation of closely spaced test units and trenches to look for brick foundations, piers, or postholes for wood-framed structures while differences in soil types may suggest garden or landscape features.
Intensive test unit excavation looking for outbuilding remains.
Test unit excavated at Bacon’s Castle showing differing soils that eventually proved to be white sand-packed garden paths and brown loam-filled planting beds.

One of the paramount principles in all archaeological work whether surveying, testing, or full-scale excavation is the need to excavate by stratigraphic layers and not arbitrary levels. The image below is a graphic example of the importance of why excavation must follow stratigraphic layers. The example shows a buried topsoil layer on top of white sandy subsoil, all of which is covered by various types of fill layers, each individual fill layer representing a discrete event, time period, and source. It is crucial not to mix layers of different time periods which would happen in this case if an excavation was conducted in arbitrary levels, resulting in compromised and worthless information. Consequently, archaeological excavation must be done properly because the process of digging consumes whatever posthole, pit, or cellar was excavated and that feature is then gone forever. There are no second chances in archaeology
Textbook example of stratigraphy from an excavation in Williamsburg with a six-foot scale. 

Submitted by Nicholas M. Luccketti, M.A., RPA
Principal Archaeologist & Partner
James River Institute for Archaeology Inc.
The GCV Helps Preserve, Conserve and Protect Our Virginia State Parks

As a Centennial project, completed in 2020, the Garden Club of Virginia donated $500,000 to projects in Virginia State Parks. During the course of our five-year commitment, 25 member clubs partnered with 29 Virginia State Parks and the Youth Conservation Corps to create projects and programs throughout the commonwealth. The GCV, along with the Virginia Academy of Science and the Izaak Walton League, had lobbied the General Assembly in 1929 to establish state parks. The protection of natural resources, especially native trees and wildflowers, was a strong tenet of the early GCV members. The early founders of the club decried the loss of rural character as roads cut through the countryside. They wanted the beauty of the state to remain.

Funding for the Centennial project came, like the work for restoring historic landscapes, from funds raised during Historic Garden Week in Virginia. A selection committee of garden club members reviewed applications and found worthy projects to support.
Grants were given to build Discovery Areas, enhance educational initiatives, renovate visitor’s centers, support the Youth Conservation Corps, boost Dark Sky initiatives, plant pollinator gardens and repair trails. The state park partnership in honor of the Centennial has been successful in uniting member clubs and generating publicity for the GCV across the state. In 2019, the National Association of State Parks Directors recognized the Garden Club of Virginia with its President’s Award for a Statewide Organization at its annual conference in Rogers, Arkansas.

Virginia State parks preserve wilderness, conserve native plant and animal habitat, protect clean water and contain historic sites and cultural resources. These are the values upon which the Garden Club of Virginia was founded. Moving into the next century, garden club members appreciate that their founders’ dream has been accomplished and Virginia is Beautiful.

Submitted by Jeanette Rowe Cadwallender
The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club
Former GCV President (2014-16)
Rudy J. Favretti

Noted GCV Landscape Architect, Rudy J. Favretti, passed away in April at the age of 90. He served the GCV for more than 20 years. The following are excerpts from his obituary and from "100 Year History of GCV Landscape Architects" by Judy Perry as a tribute to this GCV legend and Honorary Member of the GCV.

FAVRETTI--Rudy J., (excerpt from the New York Times obituary 4/23/23) … a celebrated landscape architect and historian, Mr. Favretti shaped the field of landscape design history and the preservation of historic gardens. In private practice, he restored hundreds of gardens throughout the United States and Europe. His projects with the Garden Club of Virginia, for example, included many famous landscapes such as Monticello, Mount Vernon, and Montpelier. Rudy's plans and related materials are part of the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution.

In January 2022, Judy Perry of the Elizabeth River Garden Club wrote an article for the Restoration Committee Newsletter entitled 100 Year History of GCV Landscape Architects (RC Newsletter, Issue 19, 1/22). In it she writes:

“In 1979 Rudy J. Favretti was selected as the GCV landscape architect. Favretti brought a fresh new perspective to historic garden interpretation, and a more realistic one. The Colonial Revival esthetic of boxwood parterres in “everyman’s” garden was not quite accurate. His vision of the GCV garden restoration at Historic Smithfield in the western part of the state, reflected the more rural setting.

Favretti designed or added to more than 19 GCV restorations. A partial listing includes Centre Hill, Prestwould Plantation, Ker Place, Belle Grove, Montpelier, Belmont, Maymont, Mount Vernon and Bacon’s Castle. The last listed is considered the most significant garden restoration in America.

Favretti retired from GCV work in 2001 after he completed his final project of the bowling green at Mount Vernon, a fitting tribute to this gentle man whose excellence in the field of historic landscape restoration raised the bar for the GCV restorations.”
Restoration Committee
On the Road Again ... the Restoration Committee
Visits Historic Property Sites, March 2023

Green Spring
GCV wall restoration project. Judy Zatsick, Site Director, Green Spring Garden and the Fairfax County Park Foundation
Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon tour with Horticulture Director and Honorary GCV Member J. Dean Norton
Photos courtesy of Janet Rosser
The Ashland Garden Club
Restoration Committee Member
Save the Date!
Restoration Maintenance Workshop
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024 (Snow date: Tuesday, Feb. 13)
Kent-Valentine House
Be our guest at this inspiring and informative event. Enjoy lunch and networking.
Details follow.
History Blooms
Oct. 6-8, 2023
Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond

Mark your calendar for an exciting new collaboration between the Garden Club of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. History Blooms will be a multi-day program at the Museum that weaves together the missions of both organizations and uses artistic floral design to tell the story of Virginia’s history. Details will be announced later this summer.
Bacon’s Castle Recognized as One of the Oldest Fairytale Castles in the United States 

Bacon’s Castle received recognition in Knowinsiders as the #1 choice of the top 10 oldest fairytale castles in the United States.

While fairytale castles are more associated with medieval Europe, the United States is home to many beautiful chateaus, mansions and palaces if you know where to look. From North Carolina's grand Biltmore Estate to California's Hearst Castle, we round up the most enchanting, oldest, and beautiful American castles.

#1 Choice Bacon’s Castle
Bacon's Castle was built in 1665 for Arthur Allen and his family and is North America's oldest brick dwelling. Originally known as Allen's Brick House, it was dubbed "Bacon's Castle" in 1676 after several of Nathaniel Bacon's men occupied it for four months during the uprising known as Bacon's Rebellion.

Bacon's Castle is an exceptionally fine example of High Jacobean architecture. The Garden Club of Virginia restored a reconstructed 17th-century English formal garden. Several outbuildings, including an 1830 enslaved persons' dwelling, have also been preserved.

Preservation Virginia purchased Bacon's Castle at auction in the 1970s and meticulously researched, restored, and furnished the house in the 1980s.

By Sally Polly
Contributing writer for Knowinsiders, 4/30/23

Photo by Dana Parker, The Virginia Beach Garden Club
NEW! Garden Club of Virginia Notecards

Since 1929, the GCV has preserved and restored more than 50 public historic landscapes and gardens throughout Virginia. This important work is possible due to the efforts of GCV members who produce Historic Garden Week tours in their communities.
This first set in a series represents a selection of the GCV’s restoration sites through photos taken by GCV members and friends. The photos have been digitally converted to a lovely watercolor effect. $20 per set of 10 ($3 shipping).

Available at, at the Kent-Valentine House and at select GCV events. Cards and gift-ready packaging are environmentally friendly.
Newsletter Editor: Clarkie Eppes, Hillside Garden Club

President of the Garden Club of Virginia: Debbie Lewis, The Garden Study Club