RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe announced today that the Executive Mansion will be among the outstanding homes and gardens open across the Commonwealth during Historic Garden Week, April 23-30, 2016. The walk-through tour on Friday, April 29, 2016, will include interior public spaces and the Mansion’s renowned Charles Gillette gardens.
The Mansion tour will feature unique floral arrangements designed by volunteers of the Garden Club of Virginia, as well as exhibits staffed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Department of Forestry, the Flora of Virginia Project, Virginia Native Plant Society and the Virginia Native Plant Partnership. The exhibits will provide visitors with information on the value of native plants and how to establish them and pollinator habitats at home. A sampling of local honey will also be provided by Lavender Fields Herb Farm, based in Glen Allen.
“The Governor and I are excited to highlight our Virginia native species and to support the health benefits and growing interest in urban agriculture. Gardening and growing your own healthy food are perfect ways to support our native pollinators,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “Garden Day is an excellent opportunity to see the Mansion’s beautiful and historic grounds and to promote the work of our state agencies and partners, who will be on hand to provide information and advice on planting native species and the benefits of pollinators. We look forward to welcoming many hundreds of visitors from the Commonwealth and beyond to the Executive Mansion.”
The Garden Club of Virginia has been a strong voice for conservation and beautification since its inception in 1920. Since 1929, public gardens at most of the Commonwealth’s iconic landmarks have benefitted from the proceeds of Historic Garden Week, including the Mansion’s Gillette gardens. A portion of the proceeds from Garden Week will be used to support Virginia’s state parks.
The McAuliffes expressed special appreciation to Virginia Commonwealth University students in the historic preservation graduate program for their research on one of the Gillette gardens, which is scheduled to debut on April 29 as a memorial for the Jackson and Valentine families, who were enslaved servants at the mansion.
“It’s important that the Mansion be a reflection of all of the families who have been a part of its history, not just the First Families,” said Mrs. McAuliffe. “This memorial garden will be a lasting tribute to two families whose lives and contributions deserve to be remembered.”
"The Garden Club of Virginia was instrumental in orchestrating the establishment of the Virginia State Park system and, in 1929, joined forces with the Isaak Walton League and the Virginia Academy of Science to pass a resolution in support of creating a state park system in Virginia,” Governor McAuliffe said. "This support continues today, with the Garden Club of Virginia raising funds for a variety of programs and projects throughout our award-winning system of state parks and natural area preserves."
For more information about Garden Day at Virginia’s Executive Mansion, including directions and parking, please use the following link: https://executivemansion.virginia.gov/.