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Staunton to celebrate Historic Garden Week with walking tour of Ridgeview Road on Saturday

Staunton Historic Garden Week 2024
Courtesy of the Augusta Garden Club.

Starting Saturday, April 20, 2024, visitors can participate in 30 tours of historic gardens in localities across Virginia to celebrate Historic Garden Week.

Staunton’s tour this year will be held of four homes on Ridgeview Road from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shuttle rides will be available from Staunton High School on Coalter Street.

“Our tour, we’re closing the street,” said Kathy Garrison, chair of Staunton Historic Garden Week and member of the Augusta Garden Club. Staunton’s tour will be 100 percent walking this year.

The cost is $30 per person in advance, and $40 per person the day of the tour. Funds are donated to the Garden Club of Virginia for restoration garden projects across the Commonwealth and two landscaping scholarships for students to attend school. In the past, funds raised rehabilitated the garden at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum.

Garrison said she joined the garden club because it was a women-only group.

“And they are women who get things done,” she said of the group’s conservation and educational efforts.

Recently, the Augusta Garden Club planted dogwoods at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton as part of a multi-year project to see how the trees will do against a blight.

“I love learning all these things and being around women who get things done,” Garrison said.

Beth and Len Nelsen’s home at 25 Ridgeview Road is one of the homes and gardens visitors will tour on Saturday. Beth Nelsen will also give a talk about the history of her 1927 home, called the Goodloe House, which was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I love the idea of it all being on the same street,” Beth Nelsen said of Saturday’s upcoming tour.

In 1937, Southern landscape architect Charles Gillette designed the garden at the Goodloe House. He also designed one of the first gardens with funds from Historic Garden Week, which was in Fredericksburg and at WWPL in Staunton.

Nelsen said Garden Club of Virginia sponsored a recreation of a Gillette garden at William & Mary College.

“They’re still envisioning his vision,” Nelsen said of Gillette’s design legacy. Gillette died in Richmond in 1969.

Historic Garden Week “raises money to create beautiful spaces in Virginia,” Nelsen said.

She said the Augusta Garden Club has been “so respectful of our home.”

The house was designed by Sam Collins as were several on Ridgeview Road.

“The architect features are just wonderfully fascinating,” Nelsen said.

Master gardeners will also speak Saturday and Collins’ blueprints will be on display.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.