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River Farm

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Title: River Farm  
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Subject: Rachel Lambert Mellon, Richwood Hall, Belvale, Cedar Lawn, Blakeley (West Virginia)
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River Farm

River Farm house in 2010

River Farm (25 acres/10.1 ha), home to the American Horticultural Society (AHS) headquarters, is a historic landscape located at 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, Virginia.


The River Farm property was established in 1653-54 by Giles Brent and his wife, a princess of the Enid Annenberg Haupt, philanthropist, gardener, and member of the Board of Directors of the American Horticultural Society took interest in the property. Haupt donated the purchasing funds needed for the property to AHS in the early 1970s. In 1973, AHS relocated its headquarters from the city of Alexandria to nearby River Farm. The property was renamed River Farm in honor of President George Washington, one of the many land owners.

Washington at River Farm

Today's smaller River Farm is located on the northernmost division of Washington's original property. River Farm features the estate house (enlarged and remodeled) with naturalistic and formal garden areas. It still preserves several historical associations with Washington. Its Kentucky coffeetrees are descendants of those first introduced to Virginia upon Washington's return from surveys in the Ohio River Valley. The estate's oldest tree is a large Osage-orange (Maclura pomifera), believed to be the largest in the United States. It was probably a gift from Thomas Jefferson to the Washington family, and grown from seedlings of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06.

Horticultural landmark

In 2004, River Farm was designated a Horticultural Landmark by the American Society for Horticultural Science. This recognition was due to the ability to retain its historic character while at the same time showcasing the best and most environmentally responsible gardening practices. The Horticultural Landmark features renowned vistas stretching down to the Potomac River as well as its artful blend of naturalistic and formal gardens that offer year-round delight to visitors of all ages. In addition, there are extensive and creative play areas for children, demonstration gardens for both edible and ornamental plants, a four-acre meadow, and scenic resting places for picnickers, artists, and romantics. Other highlights include two small buildings with planted “living” roofs, the largest Osage-orange tree in the nation, an orchard, a grove of rare franklinia trees, and frequent sightings of bald eagles, bluebirds, foxes, and other wildlife.


River Farm is located at 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, Virginia. River Farm's gardens are open to the public year-round Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., excluding national holidays. From April through September, it is also open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. River Farm is closed on national holidays. Admission is free (except for special events), but donations are appreciated to help support the stewardship of River Farm. The AHS Garden Shop is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


The farm's gardens include:

  • Garden Calm - shrubs, trees, and perennials for shade, with the large Osage-orange.
  • Perennial Border - plants selected for resistance to diseases and pests.
  • White House Gates - first installed at the White House in 1819, in the reconstruction after the War of 1812, and used for more than 120 years at the White House's northeast entrance.

See also

External links

  • River Farm

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