Part VII: Maymont’s Specialty Gardens, Carriage Collection, Rides and Upcoming Events!
Maymont has more offerings than we can get to with our last day’s feature. Aside from the lovely fountain here on the way to the numerous buildings (including the Carriage House) and, of course, the superb “tour ready” Mansion house, (which I will have to feature another week), there are more gardens and other wonderful hidden gems. The Carriage Collection alone deserves it’s own day, but with so many options here at Maymont there are simply too many to fit in this one week feature. So today I’ll be cramming together a small selection of other Maymont offerings different from the ones we’ve seen so far, beginning with some of the specialty gardens.
There are many small gardens that populate the property along the way including: Marie’s Butterfly Trail, The Cactus Garden, The Carriage House Garden, The Daylily and Daffodil Display Garden, The Grotto, The Herb Garden, Maymont Mansion Ornamental Lawn, Jack’s Vegetable Garden (which we took a look at yesterday) and The Via Florum Garden. I only wish I’d seen them all in bloom.
The Herb Garden resides by the Stone Barn near the Hampton Road entrance. It may be small, but it is huge in the amount of herbs grown here.
According to Maymont, the garden, “was donated by the Richmond Council of Garden Clubs in 1957, and has been maintained by the Old Dominion Herb Society since 1978.” and “displays herbs for culinary, medicinal and potpourri uses”
There are numerous id tags staked into the ground letting the wanderer know what they are looking at. It’s a great help.
A fitting sundial centralizes the garden.
Once a year this garden is the highlight for the “Herbs Galore” festival which features vendors from all over the Mid-Atlantic. This is the festivals 25th Anniversary this year. There is also the Maymont Flower Show in the Spring!
The Cactus Garden grows on the James River side of Maymont between the Japanese Garden and the Wildlife Habitat.
Sandy’s Plants, Inc. of Richmond donated the plants for this area which had no nearby water source. According to Maymont, “In 2000, a Maymont horticulturist discovered a small oval marked ‘flowers’ on a 1934 topographical map. The oval corresponded with a row of stones that existed beside a modern paved walkway. Excavation led to the discovery of an entire oval, created in stone, marking the original plot.” It was here they decided to place the wonderful garden.
The Grotto is on one side of the Japanese Garden. I wish I had a picture of it but I don’t. That said, I’ve decided to add it because it has a great story! I actually could not say this better myself so I am giving you the entire Grotto quote directly from Maymont’s own site:
“The Grotto, created around 1911, is a very rare example in the United States of a garden feature popular from ancient Rome through the Rococo period. Simulated grottoes such as the one at Maymont were incorporated into picturesque landscapes to reflect the hidden and dark aspect of nature in contrast to bright uplands and flower gardens. Originally separated both physically and thematically from the adjacent oriental landscape, the Grotto was absorbed into the Japanese Garden in a 1970s renovation.
“Noland and Baskervill, designers of the Italian Garden, also designed the Grotto. It was originally lined with cave formations, and water channeled from a nearby spring dripped down its stalagmites to gather in a shallow pool that formed its floor. Statues of sleeping lions, based on originals by Canova, flank the Grotto. The Grotto is a very important element of the original estate landscape. This unique landscape feature was restored in 2006 with with a grant from the 1772 Foundation.”
From here, past the rest of the Japanese Garden and around the bend and through the woods of the Wildlife Habitat is the lower entrance to the Children’s Farm. It is on this walkway that we come across Marie’s Butterfly Trail Garden.
Marie’s Butterfly Garden is extensive, it pops up in patches along the walkway between the pastures and the Bobcat Habitat and then spills open on the East side of the Childrens Farm Barn.
It has all the types of flowers you would expect and is lovely during the Spring through early Fall. Maymont list the flowers as, “yarrow, butterfly weed, cone flowers, butterfly bushes, sunflowers, blue spirea, herbs and other butterfly-attracting plants”
As you can see from the list there are numerous gardens for roaming here aside from the great ones we’ve seen this past week and the ones I haven’t even focused on.
There are also the main buildings to consider, one of which is The Carriage House and its wonderful collection of old Carriages from the turn of the century. They are simply magnificent. I especially love this red “four passenger Albany Sleigh” and can easily picture it pulling the Dooleys and friends about the property. It was restored by the Amish in Pennsylvania in 2008.
There is the horse-drawn hearse which is rather dramatic and other similarly stunning vehicles that are recognizable from movies and illustrations set for that time period. Very neat to see them up close and in person. I especially love the Roof Seat Break which was used as the “sports utility” vehicle of its time. It was used for picnics and hunting parties and seated up to nine people.
There are a lot more of these amazing Carriages here and I would have loved to get even closer!
The only way to do that is to arrange a Carriage ride around the park!
The Carriage horses still provide rides to the public.
The most affordable way to enjoy a Maymont ride is to visit when public rides are scheduled.
Call ext. 340 for dates and times.
10-minute ride; $5 adults; $3 children
There is so much here to see and do and I haven’t even gotten to the Mansion! The Christmas season is chock full of events here. So grab your friends and family! Here are a few:
MAYMONT MANSION HOLIDAY TOURS
Tuesdays-Sundays, Now through November 21-January 6, 12-5pm (last tour at 4:30), Maymont Mansion
(Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day)
Celebrate the season at Maymont and revel in Victorian holiday splendor! Lavish tree trimmings, the opulent dining room, spectacular decorations, and festive activities bring the wonders of Christmas past to life. Belowstairs, the work spaces abound with preparations to make an 1893 Christmas special. Upstairs Tours are available every half-hour. $5 suggested admission.
AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS AT MAYMONT
Sunday, December 6, 12-5pm; St. Nick’s Christmas Party, 1 & 2:30pm, Peacock Alley
Make this beloved Richmond tradition a part of your Christmas celebration. Victorian ladies and gentlemen welcome you to the Maymont Mansion as you marvel at the grand Christmas tree, the beautifully decorated formal rooms and the traditions enjoyed by the Dooleys and their guests in 1893. Horse-drawn carriage rides and festive music fill everyone with the holiday spirit. Don’t miss St. Nick’s Christmas Party, a fun-filled occasion for the entire family with stories, songs, party favors, games and light refreshments. Mansion tours: $7 per person/$5 members/free for children 12 and under. Carriage rides: $5 per person/$3 children 12 and under. St. Nick’s Christmas Party $10 per person; advance registration recommended. For event details and reservations, call 804-358-7166, ext. 310.
NEW! CANDLELIGHT TOURS AT MAYMONT MANSION
Tuesday, December 15, 5-7pm, Maymont Mansion
Experience Virginia’s Gilded Age treasure, the elegant showplace of James and Sallie Dooley, in this special after-hours holiday tour. Maymont Mansion is aglow as Victorian ladies and gentlemen share the gracious traditions of Christmas 1893. Lavish tree trimmings, the opulent dining room, spectacular decorations and the elaborate preparations belowstairs bring the wonders of a 19th century Christmas to life. $10 per person/$7 members. Registration recommended; call 804-358-7166, ext. 329.
Well this concludes this weeks feature on Maymont. I hope you enjoyed it as much I have. For more information go straight to the source www.maymont.org As for the Bee, it’s flying over to Maryland tomorrow to begin our first day of our week long visit to Brookside Gardens. I hope to see you here!
- Part I: Maymont Overview
- Part V: The Maymont Arboretum and Tree Experience
- Part VII: Events at Longwood Gardens
- Part V: The Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
- Part VII: Fun Events at the Washington National Cathedral