Known as “America’s Largest Open House,” Historic Garden Week in Virginia is the oldest and largest statewide event of its kind in the nation. Variety, history and beauty are hallmarks of the event, with homes featuring flower arrangements of colorful, garden flowers created by Garden Club of Virginia members, and gardens filled with plants native to Virginia. Historic Garden Week has been produced every year since 1929, with a brief interruption during World War II. More recently, Historic Garden Week was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19. The statewide event attracts approximately 20,000 worldwide visitors annually. Historic Garden Week is recognized as a significant player in Virginia’s travel industry and is actively promoted by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, in conjunction with a vast media campaign choreographed from the Kent-Valentine House.

Holly Go Walkin’ Welcomes You to HGW Boot Camp

  • Coordinated effort of 3,400 volunteers in 48 member clubs statewide
  • Depending on the year, 29 – 31 tours take place over 8 consecutive days
  • Each tour features 3-6 homes and gardens
  • Approximately 150 private homes and gardens and 50 historic landmarks are featured each year
  • Tour proceeds support the restoration of Virginia’s historic landscapes, research fellowships to document historic site landscapes, and from 2016-2020, projects to enhance Virginia State Parks.

A Brief History

The inspiration for Historic Garden Week dates back to 1927, when a flower show raised an impressive $7,000 to save some of Thomas Jefferson’s old trees on the lawn at Monticello. In 1928 when GCV members were asked to help save Kenmore in Fredericksburg, the home of George Washington’s sister, they felt confident they could raise the funds to do so, and they succeeded. Kenmore was a preservation project, not a landscaping project. In 1929, Garden Club of Virginia volunteers wrote personal notes to their friends throughout the state and nation, inviting them to visit Virginia during the last week in April for a “pilgrimage” of historic houses and gardens. The houses were open for 11 days. A hard-cover guidebook sold for $2 and provided illustrations and historic information about the properties. This was the beginning of Historic Garden Week in Virginia as we know it today.

Today, Historic Garden Week is the largest ongoing volunteer effort in Virginia, produced by more than 3,400 Garden Club of Virginia members, almost 150 homeowners, and hundreds of friends, vendors and supporters. Communication has evolved from the handwritten notes of 1929 to an information packed website, full use of today’s social media tools, distribution of approximately 200,000 state and local brochures, 55,000 Guidebooks and an active public relations program responsible for securing significant regional and national press.

Historic Garden Week in Virginia has earned a number of major awards from organizations in the public relations, travel writing, and travel industry fields. Travel and Leisure magazine had this to say about Historic Garden Week in Virginia: “Once revered as the Mother of Presidents, Virginia is more accurately known as the Mother of House Tours. Late April is the time for Garden Week when the finest private estates open their doors.”

Changing Virginia’s Landscape

Learning Centers

Past and Present




Tour Day

Historic Garden Week2023 - 2024 Calendar

Dates to Remember

Follow the Historic Garden Week timeline with this month by month list of important meetings, events and deadlines. Contact information is provided if you have questions or concerns.

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