Norfolk, along with the nearby cities of Virginia Beach, Hampton, and Newport News, form one of the most populous areas in the state of Virginia. This region serves as a major seaport and military center due to its strategic location at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Our Norfolk Garden Tour will focus on the 155-acre Norfolk Botanical Garden which is surrounded by large bodies of water. Its unique setting tempers the climate, providing nearly 245 growing days in a typical year. With approximately 12 miles of paved walkways, the Norfolk Botanical Garden does provide shuttle access to remote areas during peak bloom times. The Botanical Garden has over 50 theme gardens as well as dramatic water features including several impressive fountains and a canal. The garden is noted for having one of the largest displays of mature azaleas and camellias in the region, and those plants are featured throughout many of the landscaped areas. For azalea and rhododendron enthusiasts, the far distant Enchanted Forest has many old Belgian Indian hybrids, Glenn Dales, and Kurumes. More centralized is the Rhododendron Glade and nearby is a point that juts out into the water which has many native azaleas. They recently dedicated a new area, the McDonald Azalea Garden, which showcases the outstanding azalea hybrids of Dr. Sandra McDonald. It is not far from the Friendship Pond with its striking fountain.
On this tour, we will also visit the private garden of Linda and Bill Pinkham in nearby Suffolk, VA. Former owners of Smithfield Gardens, they have beautifully landscaped their own waterfront property to showcase some of the large and interesting stones they have collected over the years. They have utilized many rare perennials, trees, shrubs, conifers, and companion plants in their artistic landscape designs.