United States of America, Virginia, Albemarle, Charlottesville
Rabbit Run (Charlottesville, Virginia)
When purchased in 2004 this nine-acre property had a single-story main house, an indoor pool, changing rooms, six-car garage, apartment unit and two acres of invasive bamboo, kudzu, poison ivy and akebia. The house was transformed with the addition of wings, two more stories, and a classical pediment; all the other buildings were demolished. Two hundred feet of classically styled formal gardens were installed with new outbuildings. A stone wall with two flights of stairs at the entrance to the garden also acts as a retaining wall. A garden of concentric circles replaced the swimming pool, with a round reflecting pool and bubbler fountain enclosed in limestone coping at the center, surrounded by a ring of turf, encircled by a pea gravel walkway and then a ring of boxwood. A straight pea gravel path bordered by lawn and boxwood hedges planted in a key pattern leads to another lawn enclosed by a 10-foot tall circus of hornbeam. At one end of this lawn there is a circle of boxwood around a stand of nicotiana with an urn planted with lavender at the center. The one-room dining pavilion folly at the other end of the lawn has two water tanks with bubblers. Perennials and bulbs were planted along the perimeters and in the spaces formed by boxwood designs at the front of the house.
The woodland gardens were planted with native ferns, bleeding heart, more than 50,000 Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides-hispanica 'Excelsior') and 40,000 scilla-siberica, interplanted to extend the blooming season. Additional outbuildings include a hexagonal garden shed that is a privy and a chicken house for 12 hens next to raised vegetable garden beds. The hens tend these beds after the growing season, consuming plant stalks, weed seeds, grubs and insects and leaving behind 1,000 pounds of organic fertilizer for the next year.
Persons associated with the garden include Brooke Spencer (landscape designer, 2004- ); Madison Spencer (architect, 2004- ).
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The Albemarle Garden Club facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
The folder includes worksheets and copies of articles.
This property is featured in "Bringing the Outside In" published in The Cottage Journal, Summer 2012, pp. 76-86; "Rabbit Run: A Top-to-Bottom Transformation in Farmington" by Laurel Feinman, published in Charlottesville Home Magazine, September-October 2014, pp. 41-49; "Class Act" by Susan Stiles Dowell, published in Southern Living, April 2014
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