79th garden tour more colorful in unusually early spring
By Josette Keelor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WHITE POST -- Part of the 79th Virginia Historic Garden Week, the home of Susan and Clay Morris, at 450 Berrys Ferry Road in White Post, is both formal and country-style with statues standing beside a koi pond and wisteria overhanging a pergola near a stone fountain outside the sun room.
"The Morrises have one of the prettiest gardens," said Barbara Bandyke, co-chair of the local event, which is presented through the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club and The Little Garden Club of Winchester.
Originally owned by her grandfather, the house, which dates to the 1950s, was a one-story cinderblock structure until 1998 when the Morrises moved in.
"We put a sun room addition on in 2001," Mrs. Morris said, "and then the rest, the big addition, this part was added in 2009."
The dining room, living room, foyer and drawing room took Patriot Homes in Winchester about a year to build, in addition to the curving staircase in the foyer and second level.
Every day they watched the process unfold.
The Morris home joins another home -- Farhill, at 1434 Berrys Ferry Road, Meade Memorial Episcopal Church, White Post Restorations, and L'Auberge Provençale in Boyce for the local tour, which this year uses White Post as its theme, Bandyke said.
White Post was one of the first residential areas in Clarke County, Bandyke said, named for the actual wooden post erected by George Washington when he was surveying the area.
"I think it's going to attract a different kind of interest," Bandyke said.
Mrs. Morris' father W.R. Thompson and nephew Billy Ray Thompson own White Post Restorations, Bandyke said.
"And so we're excited to have that property open too," she said.
In other years, when the tour takes place throughout Virginia, flowers are only beginning to emerge from winter hibernation.
"It's a unique year for us," Bandyke said. Being in the northern part of the state, she said, what's currently available is not typical.
"Now we're wondering what will be blooming," she said.
Already the Morrises' yard is alight with red and yellow tulips, wisteria, magnolias, weeping red bud trees and dogwoods.
A boxwood hedge follows a pathway around the back yard toward an in ground pool.
Koi fish in the pond add movement around statues frozen in time, adding elegance and history to a house with a story to tell.
"I like the fountain and the fish pond, I think [they] are my favorite," Mrs. Morris said. "I like the noise. ... It makes the space."
During the warmer months, she enjoys spending her time outside, and, with two iron table sets and a wooden bench, the garden welcomes guests into its midst.
Around every corner is something to see, and visitors will find surprises as well.
Offsetting the garden's elegance is the whimsy of a wooden play castle backed by trees, behind which sits an obscured tree house.
As complete as the home's renovation and garden retreat seem, Mrs. Morris said plans are in the works for a rose garden and maybe even more.
"My husband is the big gardener," she said. "It's just kind of evolved over time."
if you go
The 79th Virginia Historic Garden Week will run April 21-28. This year's local tour, sponsored by the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club and The Little Garden Club of Winchester, will be on April 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in White Post and Boyce.
Stops along the tour:
• L'Auberge Provençale, at 13630 Lord Fairfax Highway, Boyce
• Meade Memorial Episcopal Church, at 192 White Post Road
• 450 Berrys Ferry Road
• 1434 Berrys Ferry Road
• White Post Restorations, One Old Car Lane
Tickets are $25 on the day of the tour and $22 in advance. Single-site admission is $15. Children 13 and older pay full price, and ages 6-12 get a full ticket for $15 or a single house for $5. Children under age 17 must have an accompanying adult.
Tickets are available at www.VAGardenweek.org or at the following locations:
Kimberly's on North Braddock Street
Classic Touch Interiors on Valley Avenue
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Museum Shop on Amherst Street
The Winchester-Frederick County Visitor's Center, 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Road
The Fire House Gallery and Shop on East Main
Reservations for a box luncheon, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Meade Memorial Episcopal Church, are due by Friday to Meg Sublett at 722-4989 or email@example.com. A complimentary tea will be at the church from 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information, contact 877-871-1326 or visit www.visitwinchesterva.com.