Hundreds gather in Courtland for Garden Week

Published 11:45 am Saturday, May 3, 2014

A bed of tulips at the pool house of the Hartman home on Main Street in Courtland. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

A bed of tulips at the pool house of the Hartman home on Main Street in Courtland. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS


COURTLAND—People from all over Virginia and even from around the country visited Courtland this past weekend for the Franklin Garden Club’s portion of Historic Garden Week that took guests from Jerusalem to Courtland.

Locals were not excluded among the people enjoying the festivities of the historical tour.

“I think it’s very interesting that people will open their homes to us,” said Kitty Lassiter, a lifelong resident of Boykins, speaking in reference to the Franklin Garden Club tour that took place on April 26. Others shared similar sentiments.

The tour was part of Historic Garden Week, a week-long, statewide event, in which more than 250 of Virginia’s homes, gardens, and historic landmarks were opened to the public. The Franklin Garden Club participated by displaying the Bell, Bryant, Fowler and Hartman homes in Courtland as well other local sites of interest, which included Mahone’s Tavern, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Rawl’s Museum of Arts, among others.

Approximately 280 people came to see the tour, said Tour Chair Judy Livesay.

“I even got a call from someone in Utah,” said Livesay. “He was planning to come on our tour, so he called me to ask for directions.”

Pat Hartman, a homeowner who opened her Main Street house for the tour, said she participated because she considered it a nice way to both support the Franklin Garden Club and to help raise money for Virginia’s historical homes and landmarks.

“Everyone was lovely,” she said. “One guest said they wanted to move into our pool house, and everyone loved our raised garden beds.”

Lassiter was very impressed with all of the homes on the tour.

“It was interesting to see how people live,” she said. “Three of the houses that were shown belong to people I know, but I had never been inside their homes.”

Holly Fowler, another owner of a home on tour, said that her favorite part of the tour was seeing all of the flower arrangements the club members had created.

“They’re all very talented,” she said.

Lassiter shared a similar view, adding, “In one home there was one bridesmaid’s bouquet hanging on a wall that had been dried and pressed and framed. I loved that. And my daughter liked an arrangement that had flowers surrounded by deer antlers.”

Guests also found that the tour was a great way to catch up with friends and acquaintances, either on the tour itself or during lunch, which took place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

“It was so nice seeing people walking up and down the streets visiting each other,” said Livesay, and Hartmen mentioned that she enjoyed going to lunch and socializing with everyone involved with the Garden Club.

The historic sites were also of interest. Mahone’s Tavern, which displayed Civil War artifacts, was a popular location, as was the Rochelle-Prince House and the Southampton Agriculture and Forestry Museum and Heritage Village and Museum of Southampton History.

Overall, the impression felt by guests, homeowners, and club members alike, was a sense of warmth and community.

“We thank the local community for their support,” said Livesay. “People were very warm and friendly, and the homeowners were fabulous and very gracious. Everyone was just wonderful.”