Summer 2022 Issue 20
Jean E.R. Gilpin
Chairman, GCV Restoration Committee
Winchester-Clarke Garden Club
Featured Historic Property
Poe Museum Enchanted Garden

Thou wast all that to me, love
For which my soul did pine - 
A green isle in the sea, love, 
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with Fairy fruits and flowers, 
And all the flowers were mine. 

So reads the first stanza of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1849 poem, “To One in Paradise.” Today, visitors to the Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., step into an urban oasis modeled after these very lines of poetry. 

On the sunny afternoon of April 5, 2022, the Garden Club of Virginia formally presented the Enchanted Garden at the Poe Museum. The presentation closed a decade of thoughtful planning and the careful implementation of a restoration plan that honored both Poe’s lyrical aesthetic and the garden’s history. The Garden Club of Virginia, collaborating with the landscape architect William Rieley, worked closely with museum staff, referring to archival paintings and photographs of the gardens to create an accurate restoration of the space. 

The Enchanted Garden put on its best show for the presentation ceremony. The camellias hung low over the walkways, their heavy white blooms sounding a lighter echo back from the urn of overflowing white pansies at the garden’s center. Edgar and Pluto, the museum’s resident black cats, looked on curiously but maintained an indifferent distance from the commotion of the ceremony’s attendees. Visitors to the museum were pleasantly surprised to be offered refreshments and a seat in the shade to listen to Will Rieley discuss his approach to the restoration. 

As the Poe Museum emerges from the pandemic and celebrates its 100-year anniversary, the beauty of the Enchanted Garden reminds us of the spirit of stewardship and collaboration which guides the Garden Club of Virginia’s projects. The Poe Museum is honored to care for the Enchanted Garden for the benefit of all who visit. 

Maeve Jones, Poe Museum Executive Director
Garden Photo by Barrett Doherty
Featured Property Manager
An interview with Judy Zatsick, Green Spring Gardens Site Director, as shared with Anne Baldwin, GCV Restoration Committee member

What brought you back to Green Spring Gardens (GSG)?
I started at GSG as a gardener in 2006, worked as the Plant Shop Manager, and then as a Horticulturist. After 11 years, I left to take the Head Gardener position at Bunny Mellon’s former residence, Oak Spring Farm. Bunny Mellon created an estate in an exquisitely beautiful part of Virginia. Her residence is charming, the landscape delightful, and her half- acre walled garden was a joyful place to work. However, the commute of 2.5 hours a day on 66 and the parkway was a killer. I also missed the dynamic horticultural programs, the gardens focused on history and sustainability, and the close community of Green Spring Gardens.

Judy Zatsick (L) with RC Committee Member, Anne Baldwin
GCV Restoration Committee Workshop Highlights and Videos

More than 45 staff members and friends of the GCV's restoration sites across the state attended the bi-annual workshop and luncheon in January. “The Garden Club of Virginia is vested in the continued learning and professional growth of those who care for these treasured gardens and landscapes,” said Betsy Worthington, former chairman of the GCV’s Restoration Committee. Here are highlights of the speakers’ helpful insights as well as videos of the full presentations:

Bartlett Tree Research Lab, Charlotte
Presenter: Dr. Kelby Fite
Dr. Fite, from the Bartlett Tree research Lab, discussed the function of the tree root system and how property development can compromise their root system. The root system of a tree covers 2-3x the canopy of the tree. Roots on the ground surface are needed for water, air and nutrients. Grass under trees provides nutrients for growth which are essential for the tree’s metabolism. Soil compaction is a problem which reduces the photosynthetic rates. Heavy clay soil can create compaction in the planting hole.

For root invigoration, till or loosen the soil, fertilize and compost, and water and mulch. Dr. Fite said that mulching correctly determines the tree’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. The root quality absorption condition is more important than root quantity.

Saunders Brothers Nursery
Presenter: Bennett Saunders
Mr. Saunders is all about boxwood. He said that more disease resistant and pest proof varieties of boxwood are constantly being studied and grown. The most susceptible boxwood to disease are the English and American species. The most resistant to leaf miner and blight are Asian species: New Gem Independence, Green Mound and Green Velvet. The New Gen Freedom boxwood grows fast at 3-5” per year. 

The best way to reduce blight is to:
• Get rid of plants with blight
• Avoid English Boxwood
• Use a reputable supplier
• Encourage air flow 
• Mulch (apply 1.5’ hardwood per year)
• Sanitization
• Spray with fungicide but watch the copper level 
• Replace with more tolerant cultivars

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 
Presenter: Elizabeth Fogel, Senior Horticulturalist
In 1884, entrepreneur and philanthropist Lewis Ginter bought 85 acres of property to provide healthful outdoor recreational activities for the community. Upon his death he left the property to his favorite niece, Grace Arents. She collected rare trees and shrubs and built greenhouses with a border of herbaceous perennials. In 1926, Grace Arents left the property to the City of Richmond to be named after her uncle. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden officially opened to the public in 1987.

Ms. Fogel manages 7.5 acres of the botanical garden including the Grace Arents Garden (1987), the Conservatory, the Rose Garden and Children’s Garden. The beds of the garden are planted with a lovely array of alliums, tulips, daffodil, coleus, caladium, salvia, lavender, and rosemary. 

The Garden Club of Virginia restored the Grace Arents Garden in 1990 complete with wooden archers, a summerhouse, and seasonal flower displays.  

Clarkie Eppes, Editor, Restoration Committee Newsletter
A Plant Worth Knowing
Mock Orange
Philadelphus coronarius

"It is not the moon I tell you. It is these flowers lighting up the yard.” - Louise Gluck

So begins the poem “Mock Orange” or Philadelphus coronarius which has been grown since the 16th century. Its origins are obscure but are believed to be native to Northern Italy, Austria and Central Romania. In his diary from April 19, 1807, Thomas Jefferson writes, “planted Philadelphus coronarius, Mock Orange, in the four circular bed of shrubs at the four corners of the House.”

Mock orange is a beautiful flowering shrub with gorgeous white blooms. There are more than 60 different species of this plant. It has arching branches that bear racemes of richly scented flowers that look like the blooms of the orange tree and smell like jasmine. The flowers are a cup shaped, four petal form that stretch roughly 1 to 2 inches across. The bush has a fountain form and grows to 10 feet tall and 8 feetwide. It prefers fertile, well-drained soil, with full sun to light shade. It is hardy to USDA Zones 5 through 8. A member of the Hydrangeaceae family, mock orange is a deciduous bush, blooming in early summer. It sports oval, serrated dark green leaves. It has no major issue with pests. The most fragrant mock orange is thought to be “Avalanche” Philadelphus lemoinei.

Looking best in the back of a mixed border, mock orange does well in a large container as well which is especially appealing near a seating area where the wonderful fragrant blooms will amaze. Rich in nectar, mock orange attracts all pollinators but especially butterflies. It is a beautiful cut flower and looks particularly well in large open flower arrangements.

Pruning is especially important to maintain the mock orange bush. Before pruning, be sure to sanitize your pruners well. It is very important to prune right after the blooms have faded in order to assure blooms in the coming year. Each year this bush sends up shoots which can, if not pruned, result in an unsightly ticket of stems. It is best to remove some of the older stems and keep the shrub to 8 to 10 stems at a time. If top pruning is needed do not remove more than 30% of the top growth. When pruning, also fertilize yearly to maximize bloom.

Susan Wight
GCV Restoration Committee Member
Moon Gate Project at Green Spring Gardens

Green Spring Gardens is creating a Moon Gate Garden. This beloved park is a must-visit public garden and historic site that provides year-round inspiration for home gardeners and for lovers of nature and history. Its 31 acres include multiple demonstration gardens, a woodland stream valley, and ponds. Green Spring also has a 1784 historic house, changing art exhibits, gift shops, and a plant shop with a wide selection of specimens propagated on site. In 1970, most of Green Spring’s present day acreage and the historic house were donated to the Fairfax County Park Foundation by owners Michael and Belinda Straight.

Moon gates originated in ancient Asian gardens. Guests who passed through them were symbolically granted an auspicious welcome and good fortune. In garden design, they provide enticing window views or passageways from one space into another, piquing curiosity about what lies beyond—a fitting way to celebrate Green Spring’s first 50 years, and to look forward to the next.

The new Green Spring’s moon gate project will include a mix of traditional and modern design concepts to draw visitors into this new, Asian-inspired garden. The project will begin with the construction of the moon gate near the boundary of the Edible Garden. The medium will reflect elements of Green Spring’s historic landscape, designed by trailblazing garden designer Beatrix Farrand in 1942. Beatrix Farrand’s own signature moon gate is an acclaimed feature of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, Maine. The Moon Gate Garden project at Green Spring will create a permanent commemoration of the site’s recent 50th anniversary in the form of a beautiful architectural feature and garden.

Judy Zatsick, Site Director, Green Spring Gardens, and the Fairfax County Park Foundation 

Moon Gate Photo by Jack Ledbetter. Courtesy of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden
Restoration Presentations
Stratford Hall
April 2022

Stratford Hall, home of the Lee Family and constructed in the 1730s, was the Garden Club of Virginia’s second restoration project in the early 1930s. GCV landscape architects designed a Colonial Revival garden with elaborate parterres—edged-in boxwood—at the time.

The GCV revisited Stratford Hall in 1955 to simplify the center section of the garden. Due to maintenance issues, the parterres, the large central oval, and the dividing walks were eliminated and replaced with a spacious lawn with shrubs planted to suggest the original oval. The garden changed dramatically through the years when overgrown boxwoods and further maintenance issues required that all the parterres be planted in ground cover or turned into lawn. A storm downed large trees and also damaged masonry and gates. The shade pattern of the garden completely changed so plants died and needed to be replaced. The GCV supported the garden by planting additional trees and repairing damaged gates and masonry. 

In 2018, the decision was made to redesign part of the garden to reflect the patterns revealed by archaeology and typical of a mid-18th-century garden. The completed 2019 restoration of the second terrace of the East Garden was dedicated in April 2022 reflecting a new standard for the understanding of mid-to-late 18th-century Colonial Revival style gardens in the country.

Stratford Hall Drone Photo by Matt Peterschmidt
Reveley Garden
William & Mary
May 2022

Charles Freeman Gillette was a prominent landscape architect who specialized in the creation of grounds supporting Colonial Revival architecture. He is associated with the restoration and re-creation of historic gardens in the upper South and especially Virginia.

Gillette's plan for a garden within the outer, diamond-shaped space at William & Mary was never realized. In recognition and honor of the achievements of President Emeritus W. Taylor Reveley III and his wife, Helen, the Garden Club of Virginia collaborated with William & Mary to bring Gillette’s garden plan to life.

With a university investment and generous support from other private donors, the entire area was transformed with the demolition of existing walks and storm drains, additional utility upgrades, new storm water inlets, installation of light poles and rough grading in the first phase of the project. 

The Garden Club of Virginia installed looping, geometrically executed and precisely graded brick walks that weave together through the garden and between the buildings. A central feature of the garden is a pair of custom designed metal arbors with benches. Planting and trees were also added.

Completed 100 years later, the Reveley Garden might be more accurately described as a modern interpretation of Gillette’s design. However, the garden reflects the spirit and intention of Gillette’s original plan while creating an elegant place for contemplation, study and socializing. 

Garden photo courtesy of Rieley & Associates Landscape Architects
GCV President Debbie Lewis, William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe, Helen and Taylor Reveley, GCV Landscape Architect William D. Rieley (Photo by Skip Rowland)
Join Us!
GCV Symposium
Grow Your Knowledge

Mark your calendars for Sept. 20-21, 2022, at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond for GCV’s Symposium, themed “Grow Your Knowledge.” Tickets for featured speakers including Francoise Weeks, Thomas Woltz, Shawn Spencer-Hester, Robert Llewellyn and Emilie Carter will be available beginning July 20.
Good to Know
Watering Techniques

Excerpt from the GCV Garden Maintenance Manual

The Garden Club of Virginia’s official policy on watering notes that each property is required to provide a source of water. It is critical to establishing and maintaining plants as it not only keeps plant cells turgid, water transports the many nutrients needed by the plant internally. In general, it is best to water deeply and less often than to water frequently and not very much. If plants are not watered deeply, their roots stay near the surface and they suffer more than from lack of water.

The function of water in plants is extremely complex and over-watering can be just as bad as under-watering. When soil becomes water logged, it does not permit proper aeration and the plants will wilt and eventually die.

Where non-potable or grey water is available, the GCV encourages its use for irrigation as it is both economical and ecological.

There are disadvantages associated with the use of automated irrigation systems. First, the irrigation heads are a discordant note in a historic landscape. Second, while automated systems do a fair job on turf areas they often do more harm than good when watering plants, particularly boxwood. Drip irrigation works well in planting beds but care should be taken to avoid exposing the hose on the surface.
Newsletter Editor: Clarkie Eppes, Hillside Garden Club

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