Riverview blooms in ‘historic’ state tour

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By James W. Robinson
Staff Writer

The Riverview neighborhood took center stage on Saturday as the Garden Club of Virginia kicked off its statewide garden tour.

Joining 170 homes as part of the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week Tour, “Riverview – A Botanical Delight,” showcased the Suffolk neighborhood’s floral delights on Saturday, April 20. A joint project between the Nansemond River, Elizabeth River, and Franklin Garden Clubs, gardening enthusiasts gathered to admire and be inspired by the plants and greenery of the six featured homes in the neighborhood. All proceeds raised will be used to preserve historic gardens across Virginia.

Nansemond River Garden Club President Kacky Gallotta, whose home was featured on the tour, talked about being a part of the featured homes.

“It is a wonderful fundraiser. We’ve known for months that we were going to be part of it, so we’ve been working really hard and planning, and I don’t think my fingernails are ever going to come clean!” Gallotta said. “But we’ve had a great time, and it’s been my husband and myself, so it’s been a great team effort.”

While taking in the attendees enjoying her garden, Gallotta noted the Franklin Garden Club’s help decorating the yard.

“They’ve done a splendid job with all the beautiful different types of flowers and there are cards on each arrangement that tell you what flowers are in each arrangement,” Gallotta said.

2024 Historic Garden Week Chair Lynda Odom’s garden and home were also part of the tour. Odom talked about the process, calling it “easy” as she and her husband enjoy entertaining.

“So pretty much everyone on the tour is a friend of mine. So it was easier than most I would say tours, and all the homes I have been in and knew they would be great homes for people to see,” Odom said. “They had something different about each one that people would want to see.”

Next year, we, the city of Franklin, will take the stage in the 2025 tour. For those who have not attended this year’s tour, Odom discussed what people can expect if they want to go.

“When you go on tour, you can expect to see beautiful floral designs,” Odom said. They try to go into the homes and accentuate the homeowners’ belongings and add to the homeowners’ decorations, and then we try to do a little informational educational aspect, as in we have a home here that has a propagation garden, and they do propagation… just everybody has their own little niche that they fill, and we just try to bring it all together.”

When asked how she got into gardening, Odom said that her father used to make her cut an acre’s worth of grass for two dollars as a child.

“I thought it was such a good deal and he knew that he had a good deal,” Odom said. “I was probably nine, 10 and it was on a hill and all I could remember was pushing the lawn mower up the hill.”

Gallotta also spoke about her origins in gardening while standing in her garden, which started for her and was adorned with a fence titled “A Proper Gate.”

“Once my children were grown, I really started realizing that I loved planting and I loved to see a seed grow from a tiny little speck into something that would produce tomatoes all summer, or grow a beautiful flower. So, I found that just fascinating,” Gallotta said. “There’s a wonderful God element in part of that too for me. I know He’s over all of it.”

For more information, visit gcvirginia.org.