• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG’S HISTORIC GARDENS

 

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG’S HISTORIC GARDENS

Nestled amid the homes, shops and public buildings of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area

 

are the 18th-century-style gardens of the restored city. A quick detour down any garden path leads

even the most observant guest into a labyrinth of garden spaces, each geometrically unique.

Colonial Williamsburg boasts more than 100 gardens in the Historic Area and other historic

properties nearby. Beginning in the 1920s, Colonial Williamsburg landscape architects sought

inspiration from the English-Anglo-Dutch gardens, American colonial sites and surviving colonial

gardens of the American South. Archeological excavations conducted on sites within Colonial

Williamsburg’s Historic Area confirmed the rough layout of the lots that made up the colonial city by

exposing what had been the original placement of walks, fence lines and outbuildings that together

revealed the organization of each property.

 

The majority of Colonial Williamsburg’s gardens were planted between the 1930s and the

1960s in the Colonial Revival style. This sometimes over-elaborate design style reflected early 20thcentury

tastes and the desire on the part of the public to relish a nostalgic—yet not necessarily

accurate—vision of our colonial past.

 

The past 15 years have seen the emergence of “landscape archeology,” an increasingly refined

subspecialty that may determine the species of plants grown in or near excavated areas. Through the

use of this practice, Colonial Williamsburg staff is reevaluating the design of some of the town’s more

elaborate gardens. Those involved divide their loyalty between the emerging picture of simpler, more

utilitarian gardens and the “Colonial Revival” art form that they see as equally deserving of their

stewardship and worthy of presentation. 

Much of the process of uncovering the lost plans of gardens is unchanged from many years 

ago, with the bulk of the detective work centering on old insurance records, deeds, letters, maps and

 

other documentation. Descriptions of garden sizes and layouts, building and plant materials, and

 

architectural features often surface in simple correspondence passed down through family archives.

Colonial Williamsburg’s most recent garden design efforts have produced a more historically

accurate appearance within the Historic Area landscape. Some existing gardens have been reworked to

better reflect the variety of lifestyles in the 18th century.

 

One of Colonial Williamsburg’s former landscape architects, Alden Hopkins, described the

gardens as “the green garden rooms of Williamsburg,” reflecting their reliance on southern evergreen

plants such as American and yaupon holly, bayberry, cherry laurel and eastern red cedar. Even these

deceptively simple green gardens, adapted from the late 17th- and 18th-century gardens of King

William and Queen Mary, require constant maintenance in order to preserve their sculpted appearance

year-round.

A large amount of Colonial Williamsburg garden information is related to the Governor’s

Palace. In addition to the abundance of information uncovered by archeological excavations conducted

there in the 1930s, an 18th-century copper plate engraving, known as the Bodleian Plate, revealed

some detailed design features both in the forecourt of the Palace and at the rear where diamond shaped

beds and symmetrical privies could be discerned. The Bodleian Plate proved invaluable in helping to

accurately restore the Anglo-Dutch Palladian gardens of the once grand Governor’s Palace.

In addition to the ornamental gardens in the Historic Area, the many utilitarian gardens reveal

the more immediate needs of the majority of 18th-century Williamsburg’s citizens. Although the larger

field crops such as corn, tobacco and grains were grown outside the city limits, many fruits, vegetables

and herbs grown in kitchen gardens in town provided a plethora of edible items for the stew pot or

table. Original species, or “heirloom varieties,” grown by the colonists have been identified and

collected so that in many cases virtually exact matches have been made in the selection of seeds for

sale and use in Williamsburg’s gardens. 

The untold story of Williamsburg’s professional gardeners is the focus of the Colonial Nursery 

 

 

 

 

 

on Duke of Gloucester Street, across from Bruton Parish Church. Here costumed gardening staff  

go about their day-to-day chores while educating guests on 18th-century Virginia gardening, tools and

 

techniques. In addition, guided garden tours offer guests an opportunity to learn about colonial gardens

and the evolution of the garden design and interpretation in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

Bassett Hall, one of the restored historic properties at Colonial Williamsburg and the

Williamsburg home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr., reopened to the public in December 2002 

after the 18th-century house underwent a comprehensive renovation that included the restoration of the

 

 

 

gardens to their 1940s appearance with the addition of more than 5,000 new trees, shrubs and ground covers. 

Ongoing research continues to provide more information and a better understanding of 18th century

Williamsburg gardens. Additional research undertaken by the Colonial Williamsburg

landscape staff is aimed at finding additional period plants, particularly vegetables and flowers, and

placing them in the appropriate gardens.

 

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area encompasses 301 acres of gardens and green

spaces that range from the formal splendor of the Governor’s Palace gardens to the utilitarian

kitchen garden of the James Geddy site. The Historic Area is protected from modern intrusions by

a surrounding 2,800-acre greenbelt.

 

 

 

For further information about  real estate , homes, communities or building lots in Williamsburg, James City, New Kent or York County Virginia  contact:

 

John Womeldorf/ REALTOR

Liz Moore & Associates 757 254 8136

John@MrWilliamsburg.com  email

www.MrWilliamsburg.com/  Williamsburg VA Real Estate website

www.MrBurg.com Williamsburg Va Real Estate website  

www.MrHamptonroads.com/  Hampton Roads Va Real Estate website

www.MrTidewater.com/  Tidewater VA Real Estate website

www.MrVaBeach.com/ Va Beach Va Real Estate website

  

Williamsburg Real Estate Resource. Search for Homes & Land for sale in Williamsburg Virginia & surrounding areas  click here :CLICK HERE WILLIAMSBURG VA MLS HOME SEARCH

  CLICK HERE FOR Real Estate Home Search  Tidewater Hampton Roads Va 

  

My other area Real Estate and Information Blogs for Hampton Roads/ Tidewater/ Williamsburg Virignia and surrounding areas

Williamsburg Real Estate Blog II

Williamsburg Real Estate Blog

Williamsburg Happenings/ Events Blog

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Williamsburg Va real estate search

 

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