– General Robert E. Lee
The present main approach to the Great House is from the south. Looking beyond the oval, one can see a row of poplars, recalling the entrance drive described by General Lee. The south lawn terminates in a ha-ha wall, an eighteenth-century device which permits an uninterrupted view of the plantation while preventing the encroachment of livestock.
The East Garden
In the early 1930s, The Garden Club of Virginia restored the formal East Garden in a typical eighteenth-century English style, transforming a flat, weed-grown area into a terraced “green garden” enclosed by brick walls and made accessible by oyster-shell paths. The irregular parterres are outlined with English Box. The garden is planted with Camellias, Cornelian-Cherry trees, Crape-Myrtles, Fringe trees, and Golden-rain trees. To the north of the East Garden grows the small but serviceable Orchard. It offers a glimpse at a few of the varieties of fruits that would have been enjoyed by the residents of Stratford.
The West Garden
The West Garden, originally planned by Innocenti and Webel, was recently renovated. An example of an eighteenth-century flower garden, the West Garden contains fragrant old-fashioned daffodils, heritage roses, sweet-faced johnny-jumpups, and many other eighteenth-century variety perennials, annuals, and bulbs. Adjacent to the West Garden, enclosed within the borders of espalier-trained fruit trees, is an eighteenth-century vegetable and herb garden.
The Slave Garden
Between the Slave Quarters is a small sampling of the varieties of herbs and vegetables grown and used by the African-American population at Stratford. The Slave Garden is simple and unique, and is an added attraction for those interested in the heritage of plant culture brought to America by the slaves.
The North Vista
The North Vista, nearly a mile of tree-lined field, crosses the rolling terrain to the Potomac River. This outstanding area of the Stratford landscape was reopened and gradually widened through the years. Trees, when flowering, such as Dogwood, Redbud and Paulownia, can be seen from a distance.
The Nature Trails
Wildflowers line Stratford’s well mapped nature trails. Leaving the East Garden by its north gate and following the wall on its north side, visitors may enjoy a pleasant walk through the field and into the Stratford woods. The path culminates at the Spring House, a modern construction on an old foundation.