Garden Week gets equestrian theme

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Garden Day: The Historic Garden Day will take place in Suffolk on Sunday, April 17 this year. The event is part of Historic Garden Week and is hosted by the Garden Club of Virginia. The theme of the Suffolk event is “Bridles and Blooms”; it will include a tour of homes, gardens, stables and equestrian demonstrations.

“Bridles and Blooms” will be the theme of this year’s Garden Week tours in Suffolk, as the local garden club participates in Virginia’s 78th annual Historic Garden Week.

Sponsored locally by the Nansemond River Garden Club, it is the oldest and largest statewide home and garden tour in the nation.

Every city in Virginia that has a Garden Club will be hosting an event, according to Kim Raines, publicity chair for the Nansemond River Garden Club. The money raised from the Historic Garden Week will go toward the preservation of historic grounds and gardens in Virginia.

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“It’s become a tradition,” she said.

People come from near and far to take part in the Suffolk tour. Some people attend just the Suffolk tour, while others vacation during that week to participate in tours all over the state, she said.

This year’s tour will feature contemporary homes, a historic home dating back to 1779, gardens, landscapes, horses, stables and equestrian demonstrations.

“All of the homes have the common link of having a horse farm on site,” Raines said. “Some of the stables have neat collections of horse gear. People who are really into equestrian things would enjoy that.”

Participants will be able to go into the homes and stables and ask questions. There will be volunteers in each room of the house, in the stables and with the horses to answer questions. It is a guided tour, Raines said.

People take part in the tour for different reasons, she said. Some people come to see the flower arrangements, while others come to tour the homes, get ideas for their own homes, view renovations, landscaping, gardens and more. The chance to learn more about horses will be an added feature this year.

A benefit to hosting this event in Suffolk is that there are so many different types of homes in the community. The garden club is able to offer a different type of experience each year, Raines said.

This is the first time any of the featured homes have been open for tours.

“These are homes people would never have gone into before,” she said.

One of the homes on the tour is historic, while others are contemporary, but each has distinct elements that make it interesting.

“Each of the homes this year is very unique,” Raines said.

Sites on this year’s tour include the Windy River Farm on King’s Highway, Carysbend Farm on King’s Fork Road, the Bridlewood Farm Equestrian Center on Nansemond Parkway and Indian Point Farm on King’s Fork Road, a historic home established in 1779.

The oldest home on the tour got its name, Indian Point Farm, from serving as a location for trade with the Nansemond Tribe.

Windy River was once the site of a peanut farm. It overlooks the Nansemond River and is home to award-winning show horses. The farm features several varieties of trees.

Carysbend features a full-service lesson and training facility that caters to Arabian and Half-Arabian show horses.

The Bridlewood Estates Equestrian Center features an indoor riding arena and serves the Christopher Newport University equestrian team, which will be demonstrating during the tour.

Participants will be able to pick up decorating ideas, ideas for flower arrangements, gardens, renovations and more, Raines said.

“It supports the history of Virginia, and it’s a nice outing for your family and a good way to spend time with your friends,” Raines said. “It’s a neat community event. It’s really family oriented.”

The event will be held April 17 from noon to 6 p.m. Adult tickets purchased before April 3 will cost $25. Adult tickets purchased after that date will cost $30. Tickets for children ages 6 to 12 cost $15. Children 5 years and younger are free.

Tickets are on sale at The Suffolk Visitor Center, Smithfield-Isle of Wight Convention and Visitors Bureau, at A. Dodson’s on Bridge Road and online at