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Historic Garden Week

Information Provided by the Garden Club of Virginia
Photos Courtesy of Amanda Smithson


April 18, 2023
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s Historic Garden Week tour in Lynchburg features five private homes and gardens located in the Rivermont Avenue and Boonsboro Road area. Camp Kum-Ba-Yah, a 47-acre natural play and education space nearby, will offer conservation instruction, nature walks and reserved lunches as part of this tour. Admission to the tour includes entrance to these five private residences:

Owners: Catherine and Mike Madden
Penrose Stout designed this Norman-influenced Tudor Revival home in 1924. The home features special touches such as Flemish bond brick, a steeply pitched part copper roof and stately chimneys. The owners have replanted boxwood parterres originally created by Pat Leggett, a former owner and President of the Garden Club of Virginia, laid between pea gravel paths accentuating intricate design work at the entry. Note the custom millwork in various rooms, complementing the fireplaces. In keeping with the period of the home, the owners added a marble kitchen and a great room with a 16-foot vaulted, cathedral ceiling with exposed beams. French doors and generous windows overlook the owners’ recently renovated extensive gardens. Spring blooming plants and hydrangeas accentuate the bluestone hardscape. This home was previously featured during Historic Garden Week in 1980 and 2000.

Owners: Suzanne and Stephen Johnson
Renovated in 2017, Aubrey Chesterman designed this Tudor Revival home in 1925. Boxwoods and English Hornbeam accent a welcoming circular drive. The design elements of the exterior of the home are of particular interest. Inside, the owners’ selection of soft white paint enhances their remarkable art collection. Triple crown molding, enormous fireplaces, mullioned windows, multiple French doors and original brass fixtures are highlights. Located in the small office area are watercolors of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris by artist Theodore Turner. The garden along the side of the house hosts an array of native plants and includes roses from the Old City Cemetery.

Owners: Lea and Billy Barksdale
Built in 1965 for Mr. Barksdale’s grandparents, this traditional home has been transformed by the family to be uniquely their own. The owners have filled the interior and exterior with objects of fine and decorative art. A central gathering place is the English-style kitchen. Picture windows in the den showcase evergreens, peonies and hydrangea. Not to miss are bookplates of “Sleeping Beauty” and other fairy tales from Old French books along with an illustration of Rabbit Hill by Mrs. Barksdale’s uncle, Robert Lawson. Mrs. Barksdale’s bold, abstract art is also displayed in the home. The owners enjoy maintaining the jasmine trellis on the front and patio side of the house. Boxwoods and pergola at the bluestone side porch further contribute to a tranquil setting. This house was last featured on Historic Garden Week in 2011.

Owners: Karen and Michael Owen
This lovely townhome is the ideal setting for the owners’ downsized lifestyle. The traditional exterior belies a delightful interior renovated in 2019. Vibrant artwork from local artists accents the formal living and dining spaces. Colorful textiles and wallpaper adds to the charm and warmth of the interior. The owners have maximized the living spaces with a creative renovation of the kitchen. A sunny main level master bedroom and new marble bath are perfect for the owners’ new lifestyle. The spacious deck, brimming with seasonal flowers and herbs extends the main level living space and is a favorite spot to enjoy the mountain view.

Nestled in 47 acres of urban forest, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah is a naturalized play and educational space for public enjoyment. Founder Reverend Bev Cosby recognized the need for a safe outdoor haven for children during the summer months. The nonprofit day camp, organized in 1950, has evolved to include many year-round programs focusing on outdoor educational programs for pre-k and elementary school children. Throughout the year the camp offers hiking, fishing and outdoor classrooms encouraging children and families to learn through nature. Blue Ridge Conservation will supply information on native plants, pollinators and chemical-free yards, and local vendors will have plants and gardening products available for purchase.

Owners: Gail and J. Wayne Harris 
Built in 2017, this home and garden accommodates the owners’ new downsized lifestyle. According to the Craftsman design concept, the home has steeply pitched roofs with gables, and the exterior incorporates stone and board. A collection of local art, including pieces by the owner, are displayed throughout the home. Of special note is the John Wayne room that pays homage to the famous actor. Visitors will enjoy the display of framed Historic Garden Week lunch boxes painted by local artists, which is a unique feature of the Lynchburg tour. Other interesting features include prints and watercolors from travels, an antique box collection and a vintage Tole chandelier. The back porch is a comfortable spot to enjoy the artfully designed gardens.   


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