A blooming good time ‘Down by the Riverfront’

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A welcome promise of a warm and colorful spring, Historic Garden Week in Virginia is just around the corner.

A statewide home and garden tour since 1927, this annual event kicks off Saturday, April 18, and concludes Saturday, April 25. Each day throughout garden week, a number of tours are showcased in locales across Virginia. The Suffolk tour, titled “Down by the Riverfront,” will feature the natural beauty of the Nansemond River and surrounding marshes in the Riverfront Community of Harbour View on Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Presented by The Nansemond River, Elizabeth River and Franklin Garden Clubs, “Down on the Riverfront” will highlight five homes in a vibrant and growing neighborhood with an eclectic mix of custom-designed dwellings. The tour will also include live musical entertainment, plein air artists, and presentations by gardening experts and conservation groups.

Tickets are $30 per person in advance and $35 the day of the tour. Children aged 6 and under are free. Tickets may be purchased online at vagardenweek.org or via several local businesses including the Suffolk Visitor Center, 524 North Main Street. A complete list of ticket outlets is available at VisitSuffolkVA.com/play/historic-garden-week-suffolk. Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s Historic Gardens. Contact the Suffolk Visitor Center at 757.514.4130 or log onto facebook.com/HistoricGardenWeekSuffolkVa for additional information.

“We have a terrific tour planned this year with such lovely, scenic views of the Nansemond River. The homes on tour are unique and brimming with the personalities of their homeowners,” according to Gail Pruden, 2015 tour chairman. “We are encouraging all of our guests to stop at the Riverfront Clubhouse on River Club Drive the day of the tour as that will serve as our event headquarters and the only location where tickets may be purchased on tour day.”

Also at the headquarters, guests will find tour maps, dining and attraction information, various special activities, as well as public restrooms. Participants are advised to wear flat, comfortable shoes for their own safety as well as a courtesy to the homeowners. Strollers and interior photography are not permitted in the homes. Also note that earlier marketing materials for this tour include a home that, due to unforeseen circumstances, is no longer open to the public (5270 River Club Drive).


Historic Garden Week in Virginia — Suffolk Tour Special Activities

• The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Offering information and demonstrations to encourage environmental stewardship of the Nansemond River and its wetlands at 5212 Commodore Bluff.

• Suffolk River Heritage Inc. — On site answering questions about the area’s history and waterways. The organization’s books, “The River Binds Us,” “Peninsula in Passage” and “Truckin’ on the Western Branch” will be available for purchase. The location is at the Riverfront Club House, 5200 River Club Drive.

• McDonald Garden Center Expert — Providing information about gardening practices and environmentally-friendly ways to beautify your landscape at the Riverfront Club House, 5200 River Club Drive.

• Suffolk Master Gardeners —Answering gardening questions and solving horticulture dilemmas at the Riverfront Club House, 5200 River Club Drive.

• Antique Car Display at Riverfront Club House, 5200 River Club Drive

• Refreshments and live music in the garden, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 5228 Rockport Landing

• Lisa Ziegler, expert flower farmer — The Gardener’s Workshop Presents “Grow Great Spring Flowers.” Copies of her new book, Cool Flowers, will be available for purchase at Riverfront Club House, 5200 River Club Drive at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

• Throughout the day plein air artists will be painting at several homes