- Things to Do
- Where to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
- About the Area
The Richmond Garden Trail is a ready-made itinerary of some of the country's best gardens and green spaces, with a few "garden secrets" along the way. The eight sites are all less than 10 miles from each other. There's no official starting point - choose what appeals to you and visit at your leisure.
Gardens are continually changing, so there's always something new and interesting to see, even in winter when many have special holiday displays and activities. Ask at each site for the day's highlights and for any help you may need planning your next stop. Designated parking, dining and other amenities are available at many of the sites. Share your experiences on social media using #RVAgardentrail or #RVAblooms.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Recently voted USA Today's number 2 "Best Public Garden in North America," the gardens offer more than 50 acres of year-round beauty, a Children's Garden, dining and shopping. Climb a 100-year-old mulberry tree, step into a glass conservatory full of orchids and tropicals, and stop and smell nearly 1,800 roses.
Garden secret: The Garden has an extensive collection of carnivorous pitcher plants.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts The E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden is part of one of the top comprehensive art museums in the U.S. The VMFA takes art outside for a memorable experience in an environment of changing light, climate and seasons. The 3 ½-acre Garden is an organic and free flowing space inspired by Virginia's waterfalls and woodland paths.
Garden secret: VMFA is the only U.S. art museum with a site-specific, permanent Chihuly installation.
Maymont This 100-acre estate is "One of 10 Great Public Spaces" in America and home to a National Champion Tree and Seven State Champion Trees. Stroll through the gardens, tour the mansion, picnic on the lawn or watch river otters play in the Nature Center. It's a special place where the man-made elegance of art and architecture is surrounded by the natural beauty of plants, animals, water and paths.
Garden secret: A grotto is hidden in the Japanese Garden.
Agecroft A 15th century Tudor estate originally built in Lancashire, England, Agecroft was moved to the rolling banks of the James River in the late 1920s. Explore grounds designed by noted Virginia landscape architect Charles Gillette reflecting the order and opulence of English gardens, including an elaborately clipped knot garden and medicinal and aromatic plants.
Garden secret: A scale replica of William Shakespeare's tombstone is in the Agecroft garden in honor of his 450th birthday in 2014.
Virginia Center for Architecture Tucked behind a 27,000 square-foot Tudor-Revival mansion (now home to the Virginia Center for Architecture) is a walled garden with an appealing and secluded simplicity. Relax in this little-known public green space located on Monument Avenue, "One of the 10 Great Streets in the Country."
Garden secret: This is one of the largest backyards in the Fan - a historic neighborhood named for its "fan" shaped array of streets.
Capitol Square Among the oldest in the nation, this 12-acre park is home to the National Historic Landmark Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, the oldest purpose-built U.S executive mansion still serving as a governor's residence, and many monuments and memorials. Walk winding paths in a landscape that has both seen and shaped American history.
Garden secret: This park has an empty crypt. The George Washington Equestrian Monument was to be the President's final resting place, but he remains buried at his Mount Vernon home.
The Valentine Home to more than 400 years of Richmond history, the History Center, its historic 1812 John Wickham House and Valentine Garden are located in downtown Richmond's Court End neighborhood. This secluded space provides an oasis of respite and beauty.
Garden secret: The garden's large magnolia tree was planted by John Wickham and is more than 200 years old. (Photo: The Valentine)
Edgar Allan Poe Museum The Enchanted Garden was designed in 1921 as Virginia's first monument to a writer and its layout was taken directly from Poe's poem "To One in Paradise." Look for plants mentioned in his literary works among a pergola, walls, paths, and benches created from materials salvaged from buildings where Poe lived or worked.
Garden secret: The ivy came from Poe's mother's grave in St. John's Church.
The Jefferson Hotel This historic property is a registered National Historic Landmark and is known for its luxurious accommodations, exceptional service and Southern-inspired dining. A blend of Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival architectural styles, The Jefferson was built in 1895 by Richmond businessman Lewis Ginter and features a life-sized Carrara marble statue of Thomas Jefferson, Tiffany stained-glass windows, and a grand staircase rumored to have been the inspiration for the staircase in Gone With the Wind.
Garden secret: Most summers, The Jefferson has an urban garden in its employee parking lot which supplies the hotel's signature restaurant, Lemaire, with produce and herbs.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden image (c) Don Williamson