Suffolk springs forward with Riverview garden tour

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Suffolk, Va. – In April, Suffolk’s Riverview neighborhood will showcase the best in floral as part of the nation’s only statewide home and garden tour.

With six homes and gardens being a part of a nearly 170 showcase of Virginia private properties, “Riverview – A Botanical Delight” will open as part of the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week statewide tour on Saturday, April 20. 

A joint project between the Nansemond River, Elizabeth River and Franklin Garden Clubs, all proceeds raised will be used to benefit public gardens across Virginia. Tour prices are $35 in advance and $45 on the day of the tour.

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In a March 13 interview, 2023-24 Historic Garden Week Chairman Lynda Odom shared details on what attendees will expect from the tour.

“We hope to have an educational experience,” Odom said of the tour. “There’s one garden [where] the homeowner does a lot of perfect propagation, so she’s going to highlight that. There’s one yard that has thousands of camellia bushes, she’s going to highlight the camellias. There are plenty of garden rooms to see. There are beautiful homes that have been around since the early 1900s. Just a lot of old gardens and homes to see.”

On partnering with the three garden clubs for the venture, Odom notes that each club takes the lead every third year, with Franklin having its shot in 2025.

“Next year, Franklin will have the lead, and the tour will be in Franklin. Last year, it was in Old Town Portsmouth, and the Elizabeth River club will have the lead,” she said. “So this year is my turn with it in Downtown Suffolk, so it kind of helps that we don’t have to find a location every year. There are a couple of tours that are joint club tours throughout the state, and just there’s clubs that are smaller. It just helps them out a lot.”

Odom’s home was featured on the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week guidebook cover. Odom talked about the colonial revival home that she inherited.

“This yard had a lot of walking paths through the back. The property actually goes down to the lake – it’s surrounded by the lake all around the backside – and we came in and it was all overgrown with vines and trees and you couldn’t even see the lake,” she said. “So we came in and cleared the back hillside and in doing so, found all sorts of bricks lined up forming pads and really, just cool features that over time, I’ve exposed to try to recreate some of the paths and the brick walkways that have been through the yard. It’s been fun.”

Odom says that during the tour, attendees can expect to see hydrangeas – the tour’s key flower – as well as calla lilies, azaleas, roses, and much more from her home. For what she hopes attendees will take away from the tour, Odom says she hopes to get more people interested in gardening.

“As beautiful as all the homes and gardens are, we are hoping to have something a little educational at each tour to get people interested in gardening and keeping their yards nice and pretty and just learning how to maintain lawns or particular flowers,” Odom said. “We’re partnered with six restaurants downtown that will be serving lunch specials that day and we’re hoping to pull people from the tour right downtown for lunch and just see what our downtown has to offer.”

To get tickets and for more information, go to