When Chris and Kathy Griffin bought their Colonial Revival home at the corner of Richmond and Dodomeade streets 14 years ago, the yard had numerous bushes and trees. Today, because of her love of perennials, Kathy has transformed their yard into an English garden. Kathy’s garden, along with four additional area gardens, are participating in a garden walk sponsored by the Chester Garden Club on Sunday, April 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“I guess you can call me an anglo-gardenphile,” she said. “I lived in England for a year. Chris and I both attended William and Mary College. I just like the feel of old English. The English have a passion for their gardens and dogs and I continue to see that passion when I have visited England for garden shows.”
Kathy said she is not a designer, she just likes plants. “I am a plant collector. I like to see plants grow,” she said. As a buyer for Boulevard Flowers for 22 years, she can’t resist buying a plant for her garden when something new comes out.
The first look at Kathy’s garden is formal. Moss covered roof, a brick walkway with a semi-circle leading to the front entrance of the house.
Plantings consist of boxwoods, hostas, dogwoods, a large magnolia, and one of her favorite shrubs, Viburnum, along with a white snowball peeking from underneath the magnolia tree. You will see mostly greens and whites until you enter the garden gate into the wedding garden. The perennial beds are overflowing with color: tulips, candy tuffs, coral honeysuckle, and Japanese maple that catches the light just right for Kathy as the sun moves across the sky.
Borders of perennials follow the fence on the inside and outside on Dodomeade. In the shade garden, kiss-me-at-the-garden Gate (Spiderworts) will be in full bloom, and you will find a lot of native plants to Virginia to your left: ginger, maidenhair ferns, wood poppies with yellow blooms, and Virginia bluebells, to name a few. This is one of Kathy’s favorite areas for relaxing, and it also has one of her favorite perennials, the foxglove.
Then there is the sun garden, the herb garden, and the vegetable garden. There is so much to see just on this one walk.
“I am getting older and it is a lot of work,” she said. Raised on a tobacco farm, she is used to hard work. “Dirt and plants are in my blood and I love pereinnals.”
Other gardens on the walk include those of landscape architect Dean Hawkins’ Master Gardener Charlie Morgan, Master Naturalist Gill Fox and wife Margi, and St. John’s Episcopal Church Memorial Garden. Tickets cost $10 and they can be purchased from a garden club member or on the day of the walk. Refreshments will be served from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Horticulture and flower designs will be on display at St. John’s in the fellowship hall. In addition, plants will be sold to raise funds to be used to further support the beautification of Chester.