Riverside Garden Restoration

After decades of researching and planning, we’re taking steps towards making Gunston Hall’s landscape even more authentic. The Riverside Garden is a one-acre site overlooking the Potomac River and will be will be restored to its 18th-century appearance. When finished, its layout and plantings will be a must-see destination for all.  

Features of the garden will include:

  • New pathways throughout that follow the original layout of the garden
  • Heirloom decorative and vegetable plants that were familiar to George Mason
  • Dozens of fruit trees trained as espaliers and cordons
  • Reproduction hotboxes
  • A large, 18th-century-style fence that links the mansion to the garden – just as it did during Mason’s life

Phase 1: Research and Planning (Complete)

Staff, volunteers and contractors at Gunston Hall have been doing research on the Riverside Garden for nearly 50 years.  Under the leadership of architecture firm Glave and Holmes and landscape architect Robert McGinnis, Gunston Hall conducted additional, targeted research and developed a restoration plan.

Phase 2: Site Work & Construction (Winter 2020/Spring 2021)

Site work is almost complete! Carefully, and under the supervision of our archaeologist, the area was cleared of plants and leveled with the addition of topsoil so as to not disturb the archaeological record beneath the ground.  We have planted cover crops to protect and improve the soil while we wait for the rest of the work to finish.  The pathways are almost done, and the fence is close to completion.

Phase 3: Planting (Spring 2021)

We have begun planting! Recently, our horticulturalist lead us in planting the boxwood edging– over 1,000 boxwoods were planted!  In Fall 2020, we planted vegetables that were familiar to George Mason.  In the spring, we will plant fruit trees, as well as heirloom decorative and vegetable plants. Be sure to take a look at the list of plants we will be reintroducing to the site.

Growing Personalities: Q&A

Watch our August 7, 2020, program when we partnered with Monticello and Mount Vernon for a live streaming event that explored the personalities reflected at each property. In this 45-minute event, you will discover the gardens of historic leaders George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.