Riverfront comes alive
Published 6:48 pm Saturday, April 18, 2015
Harbour View’s Riverfront community was awash with green thumbs on Saturday for Historic Garden Week.
Presented by the garden clubs of Nansemond River, Elizabeth River and Franklin, the tour of six homes on the Nansemond River showcased gardens attuned to their natural surroundings.
Tour chair Gail Pruden was thankful for the perfect weather. “We are just blessed,” she said. “We have been watching the weather for two weeks.”
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The tour attracted a diverse range of visitors from various places, she said, adding, “Our goal was to have about 400 folks come and enjoy it.”
Eric and MacKay Boyer traveled from Richmond after winning tickets on Facebook. “We’ve never been to a tour in Suffolk, but we go to different ones,” MacKay Boyer said.
She said she was surprised by the gardens. “We are generally old house people, and we didn’t know what to expect with all new houses. But they are just beautiful.”
Eric Boyer noted how the homes take advantage of the river, “and the flower arrangements in the homes are just spectacular.”
Virginia Beach’s Susan Hutton visited the homes with Suffolk friend Debbie Eaton. “They are gorgeous — they are absolutely beautiful,” she said. “It’s going to cost a lot of money to go home and tell my husband the honey-do list has gotten longer.”
Hutton was stocking up on ideas for flower-arranging. “We’ve seen some unique arrangements — and the display vessels that they use,” she said.
Friends Dell Shankles and Faye Keenan traveled from Yorktown to discover The Riverfront’s enviable homes.
“I think it’s beautiful,” said Shankles.
Kennan added, “Makes me wonder why John Smith didn’t stop here instead of going to James Town. He had to go by here, you know, to get to the James.”
The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance was one of several groups the tour partnered with to help deliver an environmental focus.
Speaking outside one of the homes, that group’s executive director, Elizabeth Taraski, said it was a good opportunity for community outreach.
“We have a relationship with the Nansemond River Garden Club,” she said. “Our whole philosophy is to form alliances with like-minded organizations. It’s a wonderful opportunity just to inform the citizens in this area, and also others out of this area.”
The showcased homes helped folks understand how environmentally responsible gardens can be created to complement the waterways and marshes, according to Taraski.
Back at the Riverfront Clubhouse — tour headquarters — Pruden quipped that for many male visitors, one event attraction was upstaging the gardens their wives came to see.
The two Duesenbergs owned by North Suffolk resident Dwight Schaubach were “an unexpected treat,” according to Pruden.
“Every man that comes with his wife has a tough time being pulled away,” she said.