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									                      Charlottesville Garden Descriptions
Greenwood Estates

The Greenwood District of Albemarle County is highly acclaimed for its pastoral beauty
with dramatic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and gracious farm estates. It was
settled by the Scots-Irish in the early 18th Century, and by 1820 substantial brick homes
were built along the Plank Road. Bellevue, on an original land grant from King George
III, Piedmont with roots of the Wallace family from 1734 and still owned by that family,
Later in the century Greenwood became a social hub centered on the Langhorne family at
Mirador where Nancy Langhorne grew up to later become Lady Astor, the leading
socialite of New York City’s Gilded Age. In the early 20th Century several estate homes
were constructed including the impressive Blue Ridge Farm and Ramsay (another
Langhorne estate), .

Casa Maria is the home of Ms. Cynthia Tremblay. The 6.5 acre estate is on the Virginia
Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. In 1919 Mary
Williams commissioned noted landscape architect, Charles Gillette (Virginia House,
Agecroft Hall, and Kenmore among hundreds of other residences). Gillette was a master
of the Country Place landscape movement which demanded careful attention to detail,
concern for proportion and scale, clear spatial organization, and a harmonious
relationship between plan and plantings. His genius lay in interpreting traditional forms
and styles to the Old Dominion’s climate and countryside.

Legend has it that Gillette also designed the Mediterranean style home. Mrs. Williams
died in 1920, and the house and garden were completed by Ms. Williams’s niece, Ella
Williams Smith and her husband, Gordon Smith. The garden, which is one of the best
maintained of Gillette’s gardens, are noted for their stone walls, boxwood allees, azaleas,
and specimen trees. Ms. Tremblay has added statuary framed by the boxwood allees and
stone walls. The original exterior pink color was restored in 1992 by Ms. Tremblay and
the roof line was modified with terra cotta tiles. Off to the side of the circular driveway
is a garage with a roof garden of hostas. Adjacent to the rear of the house is a walled
garden with a tiled goldfish pond and trellised vines.

The round garden, birdbath garden, and cutting garden are bordered by the orchard.
Groves of Viburnum, Kousa Dogwood, and Bamboo lead to a Japanese bridge near the
pond, which was added by Ms. Tremblay. The swimming pool is designed with Mexican
glass tile. Beyond a small evergreen garden area the original potting shed and English
glass greenhouse.


Whilton is the farm estate of Terrence and Courtnay Daniels which has been featured in
British House and Gardens, Southern Accents, and the Wall Street Journal. The 1914
farmhouse is surrounded by a grove of white oaks which frame views into the gardens.
Prior to 1988 the garden consisted of a simple yew parterre. Set in a bucolic 350-acre
estate, today, it is one of the most ambitious private gardens on the East Coast featuring a
5-acre arboretum with rare specimens, stunning views of the surrounding hillside, and
over 200 cultivars of Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple). The garden rooms surround the
house and reach out into the countryside, designed in the style of 20th Century English
country gardens.

The Wall Street Journal in a feature article entitled, “How Her Garden Does Grow” states,
“…Ms. Daniels has devoted much of the last decade to 15 acres of gardens filled with
rare and unusual trees, flowers, grasses, and shrubs. There’s a rose garden, a vegetable
garden, a blue garden and an apricot garden. The orange garden is adjacent to the grass
garden, and the yellow garden leads to the canal garden with its two reflecting pools.”
The article goes on to state that she has two full-time horticultural assistants, Lois Smith
and Polly McConnell, who help her in the garden. “She uses global positioning satellites
to help her map her gardens and uses a custom-built computer program to help her
catalog her 100,000 plants.”

“Ms. Daniels’s venture harkens back to a bygone era of the early 20th Century when
wealthy families like the du Ponts or Rockefellers cultivated hundreds of picturesque
acres. But these days, gardening on such a scale is increasingly rare, reflecting declining
interest and the high cost,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Daniels owns a
private equity firm. Ms. Daniels tended a tiny garden plot in New Jersey while raising
four children, but when they moved to Virginia for her to pursue horseback riding; she
caught the gardening bug in a major way. Today, Ms. Daniels is on the Board of
Directors of the Garden Conservancy, attends weekend gardening seminars, and often
visits British gardens for ideas and inspiration.

The first rose and vegetable gardens were installed twenty years ago, and in 2000 the
three greenhouses were built as well as the airy pavilion she uses as a garden library and
office. Her eleven horses are gone, and where a horse arena once stood is the canal
garden. From the Wall Street Journal article, “A trained painter, Ms. Daniels now treats
the grasses and trees as her palette, mixing different leaf forms, colors and textures to
give an area its character.”

Blandemar Estates

This contemporary estate community is sited on land owned in the 1700’s by Colonel
Charles Lewis, who had inherited a portion of his family’s original land grant of 21,000
acres. Lewis, a Revolutionary War patriot, was praised by Jefferson for his “good sense,
integrity, bravery, enterprise, and remarkable bodily powers.”

Whispering Pines

Carol and Bernard Tautkus built their home on this 8-acre estate in 1999, sited to afford
views of open fields, a lake, and surrounding mountains. The wooded garden features
many varieties of azalea, dogwood, viburnum, hydrangea, camellia, weigelia, ornamental
grasses, magnolia, crepe myrtle, and daylilies. In the spring there are thousands of
flowering bulbs. There is a vegetable garden and orchard for practicality.

Stone and brick walks, natural wood chip paths, and long boardwalks meander through
the woodland gardens. Garden accessories include a gazebo, wrought iron gates, arbors,
and trellises. There are a number of sitting areas along the boardwalks. Whispering
Pines was a featured garden for this year’s Virginia Historic Garden Week in April.


Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution and
our Fourth President. It is a plantation that was originally acquired in 1723 by his
Grandfather Ambrose originally known as Mount Pleasant and covering 4,675 rolling
acres. In 1764 when James was a boy, his father, James, Sr. and mother, Nelly, moved to
a new house later known as Montpelier. This beautiful and expansive farm was where
James’ intellect, character, humility, and political skill were shaped, where he would
bring home his new bride, Dolley Payne Todd, and where he would retire after his

James received a classical education at a Tidewater boarding school but did not want to
battle the heat and humidity of the region during his college years by attending William
and Mary, and instead, he graduated from Princeton University where he studied logic,
rhetoric, and moral philosophy. The Scottish Presbyterian professors provided a new
perspective of religion from his Anglican upbringing, and he soon became an unwavering
champion of religious freedom standing up against the persecution of Baptists and later
authoring the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights granting freedom of religion and not
mere tolerance of religious differences. In 1776 he was a delegate to the state’s
constitutional convention, and in Williamsburg developed a lifelong friendship with
Thomas Jefferson. He later served as a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress
establishing himself as a potent intellectual force.

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates he through the mid-80’s he divided his
time between Richmond, the new state capital, and Montpelier. In his second-story
library looking out over the Blue Ridge, he embarked on an exhaustive self-study of
attempts at self-government, recognizing that the 1781 Articles of Confederation would
ultimately fail the new nation. He wrestled with questions that continue to dominate
political discourse in modern times – how can individual, state, and national interests be
balanced? Madison convinced Washington to attend the 1787 Convention in
Philadelphia and presented to the delegates the “Virginia Plan” to strengthen the national
government. He was not a strong orator, and at five foot and four inches did not possess
Washington’s physical stature, but he worked tirelessly behind the scenes, taking copious
notes, proposing compromises, and articulating intellectual underpinnings for a House of
Representatives to represent all of the people proportionally, a strong executive, checks
and balances between the three branches of government, and a federal system reserving
power for states and the people not assigned to the national government. Once the
Convention approved the Constitution, he joined forces with Alexander Hamilton and
John Jay to write a series of newspaper essays to convince the states to ratify it – known
as The Federalist Papers. He had to battle against the new Constitution’s fiercest
opponents, Patrick Henry and George Mason, in convincing his own Virginia convention
to ratify it, and he prevailed.

In 1789 he was elected to the House of Representatives with George Washington as the
first President, whose inaugural speech Madison drafted. It was in the House that he
pressed for passing a Bill of Rights keeping a promise he had made to his fellow
Virginians during the Constitution debate. The first 10 Amendments were ratified in
1791, and Madison soon became known as both the Father of the Constitution and the
Architect of the Bill of Rights

He retired from public service in 1797 to return to help manage Montpelier with his
father. He added a new wing for his new wife, Dolley and her son from a previous
marriage. Dolley was born near what is now Guilford College in Greensboro, NC (Larry
was raised on Dolley Madison Road a mile from her birthplace) to Quaker parents. Her
father began a farm in Hanover County Virginia, but sold it upon freeing his slaves in
1783. The large family was moved to Philadelphia where she married a promising
Quaker attorney, John Payne. They had two children, Payne and William, but when
yellow fever swept the city, she lost both her husband and her infant son, William, on the
same day. A boarder at her father’s boarding house, Congressman Aaron Burr,
introduced her to his friend, Congressman James Madison. Dolley referred to the “great
little Madison’ in a letter to her friend. Although James was seventeen years her senior,
the couple soon wed.

The marriage led James Madison to become more open and conversant. Although he had
retired from public life, he became increasingly concerned about the direction that the
second President, John Adams, was leading the nation. He supported his friend, Thomas
Jefferson, for President in the 1800 election and would serve as his Secretary of State.
He was involved with the President and emissary, James Monroe, in negotiating the
Louisiana Purchase from France, nearly doubling the size of the United States from the
Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains. He was elected as President in 1808 to succeed
Jefferson and soon became embroiled in the War of 1812 in which Washington was later
invaded and the White House burned. The latter part of his second term saw good
economic times, westward expansion, greater prominence on the international stage, and
an era of “good feeling”.

Dolley became one of America’s most beloved First Ladies – a charming social hostess, a
moderator of partisan differences inviting political opponents to dine together at the
White House, and a heroine saving the White House’s important papers and paintings
from the advancing British in 1814 before they set it on fire. She later oversaw its
reconstruction. She loved Washington, but at the age of forty-eight retired to Montpelier
to be by her husband’s side for the last nineteen years of his life, helping him manage the
plantation, serving as his secretary, and entertaining a continuous stream of guests --
sometimes a hundred at a time and often uninvited. Her profligate son, Payne, was a
major heartache for her as he drained the Madisons’ fortune in resolving his debts. After
Dolley moved back to Washington upon James’ death at age 85 in 1836, Payne sold
valuable possessions, some of which have been located and returned to Montpelier in
recent months and years. Although without fortune, Dolley was a leading socialite of
antebellum Washington and volunteered for many of its charities. Her death in 1849
occasioned the largest state funeral held up until that time.

Montpelier has undergone a 5-year, $25 million restoration which was completed in 2008.
James and his father, James Sr., created a home that was grand, unified, and
architecturally bold. James, Sr. began constructing the core of the home in 1763 as the
largest home in Orange County. Thirty-five years later James would add a substantial
wing to the north side consulting with Jefferson who was expanding Monticello at the
time and James Monroe, who was building Highlands, now known as Ash
Lawn/Highlands. They exchanged workmen in the construction process. The elder
Madisons lived in the original house, and Dolley, James, Payne, and Dolley’s sister,
Anna, lived in the new wing. During his term as president, he merged the duplex and
added one-story wings on each end of the house.

At the time of this second renovation, he had his slaves excavate an ice pit and covered it
with a classic Temple which had been intended as his study but never used for that. A
four acre formal garden was terraced behind the rear Colonnade creating beds in a
horseshoe shape. Today, this is the Annie duPont Formal Garden. Then, the gardens
were filled with vegetables, roses, flowers, and fruit. He corresponded with American and
European horticulturalists and botanists and introduced exotic trees to the picturesque
landscape including State Champion Trees, English Oak, Spanish Fir, and Cedar of

Montpelier changed hands frequently after Dolley’s return to Washington transforming
its classical design to the Greek Revival style that was popular at that time. William and
Annie duPont purchased the estate in 1901. They more than doubled the size of the home
and added over fifty exotic trees in developing a noteworthy arboretum. Their daughter,
Marion, assumed ownership of the estate in 1926 and transformed the property into a
world-class horse farm. The sleek Art Deco style of the 1930’s was the décor adopted for
one of the rooms in the house now displayed in the duPont Galley of the Visitors Center.
Upon her death in 1983 the National Trust for Historic Preservation began restoring the
mansion to the Madison era according to Marion’s duPont Scott’s wishes.

Annie duPont restored and embellished the Madisons’ formal garden adding brick walls,
statuary, and iron gates. She later engaged noted landscape architect, Charles Gillete, to
design brick walks and herb beds. The Garden Club of Virginia undertook the restoration
of the garden in 1992 returning it to the glory of Annie’s Gilded Age formal garden.
Bearded and Japanese Iris, daylilies, and peonies are among the standouts in the garden.

Michael Quinn, President of the Montpelier Foundation states:
      …the restored Montpelier is the place to learn about James Madison, about his
      ideas, his life, and his personality, and about Dolley Madison. It is also a place to
      learn about the American Constitution and the principles of self-government and
individual liberty that informed its creation and are the lifeblood of its continued
success….And I hope you will be captivated by the beauty and inspiration of the
place James and Dolley Madison called home. (James Madison’s Montpelier:
Home of the Father of the Constitution, 2008)

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