Creating Beautiful Tomorrows – Afton Villa Gardens and Ruins
A St. Francisville Treasure
Living in Louisiana for 12 years, I loved photographing all its beautiful places. Afton Villa Gardens is certainly on that list. I always put off going until the azaleas were blooming. I didn’t know what I was missing! Finally, I made it and found it as enchanting as everyone raved.
From the moment you pull up to the gate house, elegance seems to be theme. Following the half mile tree covered tunnel driveway into the gardens, you feel as though you are entering a the peaceful place. Large blooming azalea bushes line the drive in the spring. Very worth the wait!
The Barrow family originally owned the property. Bartholomew Barrow sold it to his son David and his wife Sallie in 1839. Sallie was not happy with the current house. David said she could build what she wanted, but could not destroy the current home. Sallie took on the task to build around and over the original house to create her gothic revival style mansion. They lived there until David’s death. After which, Sallie returned to Kentucky.
Afton Villa has had many owners over the years that worked to restore the home and the gardens. Sadly in 1963, the original villa was destroyed in a fire. When Genevieve and Morell Trimble purchased the property, Genevieve incorporated the mansion ruins into a garden.
Leaving the Ruin Gardens, you can wander over to the boxwood garden. With its neatly trimmed pathways, it is the quintessential English feeling garden. Genevieve Trimble, the current owner, talks with some visitors at the far end of the garden.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn
The garden has many terraces after you pass thru the boxwood garden. Aging oaks and special garden spots fill the outlying acres. Volunteer historians give talks on special weekends. This young man’s desire to share the history with visitors was impressive.
Continuing down, you reach the Daffodil Valley. Since 1984, 100,00 daffodils of multiple varieties are growing here. Splashed with vibrant hues of yellows blanketing the ground, a simple trail winds thru the trees.
At the end of the Daffodil Valley path, these steps lead you back toward the main gardens. These steps were one of my favorite shots at the garden. I think they tell a story of love and dedication to create beauty for the world to enjoy.
This oak speaks to the strength and beauty that has endured in Afton Villa Gardens. Life’s many joys and challenges carry us along our journey. Believing in our vision to create and steadying our hearts toward a goal, we grow and flourish like this might oak.
Experiencing the romance and peaceful grace of Afton Villa Gardens will be a highlight to any Louisiana visit.
To plan a visit Afton Gardens and other St Francisville attractions, click here
Read about Rosedown Gardens .