Muggy weather doesn’t dampen garden tour

At 3 p.m. Saturday the temperature in the town of Washington reached a sultry 93 degrees, with a heat index of 103. But that didn’t stop well over 700 visitors from flocking to the county seat for Historic Garden Week in Virginia. It was the first time in the garden tour’s 84 year history that the “first Washington of them all” was chosen to host the prestigious tour. “There are actually traffic jams in town,” observed a visibly pleased Washington Mayor John Fox Sullivan, whose 18th century estate “The Meadows” — which welcomed 675 visitors — was among five homes and gardens chosen for the tour.

Photos by John McCaslin

Visitors arrive early at Trinity Episcopal Church, the garden tour’s headquarters [Photos 1 and 2]; tour goers enter Avon Hall [Photo 3], which dates to 1796 and is undergoing a complete renovation — and will be proudly featured again during 2019’s Garden Week; front doors to homes on Saturday’s garden tour were also opened to visitors, including those here [Photo 4] admiring the curio-filled kitchen of “The Meadows”; adding to the special day “plein air” artists, including Nedra Smith and Armand Cabrera seen here, painted [Photos 5 and 6, plus Insets 5 and 6] various gardens during the tour, their finished works — seen here framed, but still a bit wet — sold later at silent auction at Tula’s restaurant for up to $1,000 each.

[Photo 7]; Beth DeBergh, Rappahannock resident and chairman of the Garden Club of Warren County, who is credited for bringing the garden tour to town, poses [Photo 8] in front of one of the finished paintings; besides opening its expansive grounds and several gardens to Garden Week, the Inn at Little Washington hosted a variety of garden-related vendors and local artisans [Photos 9 and 10] on the stub of Middle Street, including Flourish Root Florals’ designer extraordinaire Jen Perrot (right) and helping hand Heidi Maeyer; and finally a couple of potheads [Photo 11] and their pooch keep crows away from the Inn’s vegetable garden.

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