April 27 through May 4 is Historic Garden Week sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia. To celebrate this florally festive week, we’re pulling on our garden boots and setting our sights on some of Lynchburg’s most beloved public gardens.
Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum
Anne Spencer, the renowned Harlem Renaissance poet, once wrote:
Your garden at dusk
Is the soul of love
Blurred in its beauty
Mrs. Spencer was already well into her writing career when her husband built her a garden sanctuary, but it became one of her most beloved places to write and create. Rich with roses and garden plants, the garden was her haven—and it’s a retreat others can enjoy today.
Open to the public, the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum is open and available for tours. The Garden is open, free of charge, every day from dawn until dusk. To tour her home, visits must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
Old City Cemetery Museums & Arboretum
Established in 1806, the Old City Cemetery is Virginia’s oldest municipal cemetery still in use today. With a sprawling 27-acre public garden, it’s easy to see why visitors flock to this historic site every single year.
And, with roughly 350 varietals of antique roses throughout, it’s the perfect destination for a Historic Garden Week tour.
The cemetery grounds are open to the public every day, free of charge, from dawn until dusk. If you’re hoping for a guided tour or a stop inside of the museum, other hours will apply.
Miller-Claytor House Garden
Built in 1791, the Miller-Claytor house is Lynchburg’s only remaining 18th-century town house. Rumor has it, Thomas Jefferson himself proved to the owners of the Miller-Claytor home that tomatoes were, in fact, not poisonous by plucking one from the garden and eating it on the spot.
The gardens that stand today are not quite original in scope to the home. The garden that visitors can experience today was planted in 1940 and is lovingly maintained by Lynchburg’s Garden Club.
The garden is open year round for visitation, but the home is only open by appointment.
Dorothy Crandall Bliss Botanic Garden, Randolph College
Beaming with wildflowers, and designed with ideal stopping points along the walking paths, the Dorothy Crandall Bliss Botanic Garden at Randolph College is more than a retreat for college students on campus, it’s open to the public year-round.
The garden can be accessed through the gates on the Norfolk Avenue side of campus.