Grace Arents Garden
Explore this Historic Victorian Garden
Adjacent to historic Bloemendaal House, the Grace Arents Garden is an elegant Victorian-style garden with year-round beauty. Lewis Ginter’s niece, Grace Arents, first tended the garden here in the early 1900’s. The Garden Club of Virginia restored the garden in 1990, based on its original early-1900s design.
The garden features period-appropriate plants with an “old-fashioned” feel, a gazebo and two latticed arches covered with climbing roses, and a traditional boxwood border. An unusual combination of both annuals and perennials ensure something is always in bloom. Abundant peonies are stunning in the spring in combination with daffodils and tulips. Summer blooming annuals are complimented by more than 30 roses. Spectacular trees also populate this garden, the largest of which are a Ginkgo, Southern magnolia, and Darlington oak. The garden’s centerpiece, a decorative sundial, is a 1914 original feature from Miss Grace’s own garden. This beautiful area is a favorite place for weddings and special events.
Tucked behind Bloemendaal House, the Wildside Walk’s naturalistic hillside and meandering paths overlook Lakeside Lake. North American wildflowers, azaleas, and rhododendrons decorate this wooded nature trail. A cool microclimate supports mosses, lichens, unusual ferns, and an abundance of wildlife. This garden shines in the spring when native ephemeral wildflowers are in bloom. Grace Arents frequented this hillside in the early 1900’s. Observant visitors will discover remnants of her nineteenth-century woodland garden, including a frog-ornamented stone fountain. This is a great spot for bird watchers!
The Lace House
The Lace House is set off to the east of Bloemenaal House. This intricate white pergola was hand-carved in 1800 for Samuel Myers’ Governor Street garden and was relocated to its current location in 1994. This beautiful structure offers a spot of shady seclusion amidst the Christian Family Azalea Collection and the Van Arnam Memorial Garden woodland border. The adjoining lawn is the setting for a unique collection of trees that originated from around the world. The ginkgo, Norway spruce, Hemlock, and Japanese plum yew were planted by Grace Arents , who was inspired by her international travels. Unusual specimens at that time, this collection became one of Virginia’s earliest arboretums.
The Friendship Garden
The Friendship Garden frames the original main entrance to Bloemendaal House with azaleas, Japanese maples, and unusual evergreens. The original steps, newel posts, inlaid leaf-pattern walks, and cast-iron Victorian lampposts from Lewis Ginter’s Wheel Club still remain today. This garden was created in the early 1980’s by the Richmond Horticultural Association in memory of Madeline W. Livesay, garden writer for the Richmond newspapers and friend of the Garden.