The Gardens at Stratford Hall
Stratford Hall’s gardens have a long and rich history. When the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation signed an agreement with The Garden Club of Virginia in 1929 to restore the gardens at Stratford Hall, all that remained of the East Garden was a flat area overgrown with weeds, a few ancient beech trees, and a crumbling brick wall of uncertain origins. We know from a letter written in 1790 by Thomas Lee Shippen, grandson of Stratford Hall’s builder, that there were “gardens, vineyards, orangeries and lawns which surround the house.”
In 1933, the Garden Club of Virginia installed a boxwood garden to the east of the Great House. This marked the Club’s second restoration and was designed by Morley J. WIlliams, nicknamed the father of Colonial Revival gardens. The East Garden has been modified over the years with the most recent work beginning in the summer of 2018, based on archeology and research conducted during the last several years.
Working in conjunction with landscape architect Rieley and Associates of Charlottesville VA, the Garden Club of Virginia and Stratford Hall completed the restoration of the upper tier of the East Garden according to a design of a mid-18th century plantation garden.
Trees and shrubs have been removed from the garden and existing pathways based on their locations identified by archeological evidence. Fruit trees and vegetables have been planted to complete the restoration showcasing one of the most visually stunning and accurate displays of 18th-century landscape in the country. The East Garden showcases juxtaposed authentic 18th-century and colonial revival garden designs.