In the beginning there was grass . . .
A History of the Viette Gardens
When André first moved to his beautiful farm in the Shenandoah Valley in 1976, the grounds looked quite a bit different than they do now!
A Destination for All!
André wanted his nursery in the valley to become a destination - a place where visitors could come not only to purchase plants but to spend a leisurely day strolling through beautiful gardens and come away with a head full of ideas. When he set out to design the gardens at Viette’s, his goal was to create spectacular display gardens for year around enjoyment and also provide a showplace where customers could see how his perennials would look in a mature landscape. How many gardeners have looked at pots of plants in a garden center and thought, “These are really beautiful but how will they look in my garden? How will they perform in my landscape throughout the season?” André feels that the best way to choose plants is to actually see them growing in the garden and observe various combinations of perennials, trees, and shrubs. This is what sets Viette’s apart from most retail garden centers!
Starting from Scratch!
After he got his nursery business under way, André began to create his display gardens. He transformed his large grassy front yard into several separate raised berm gardens. He built these berms using the same procedures he describes in all his gardening seminars –
- "use a garden hose to outline your shape . . .
- "kill the grass with Round-Up . . .
- "dig or till the bed to a depth of 12" to 18" . . .
- "add 25% organic material to the soil . . .
- "amend the soil with plant-tone, rock phosphate, green sand, and rich earth according to his specific formula . . ."
Then he was ready to design and plant the gardens.
Color all Season!
André artfully incorporated the perfect combinations of trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials and annuals in his gardens to provide year-round interest. When you visit Viette’s, you will always find something in bloom – no matter what the season! Plan to visit our nursery and gardens several times during the season. You will be amazed at the progression of colors and textures that occurs from spring through winter! Nothing is ever still or static – there is always color, movement, and interest! Come see why these spectacular gardens have been featured in national magazines and on public television!
An Abrupt Change!
The gardens at Viette’s matured beautifully over the next few years. Visitors from all over came to wander through his spectacular sun and shade gardens getting ideas for their own plantings. Then came Hugo! In September 1989, three years after André put in his front berms, hurricane Hugo hit the Shenandoah Valley. There was plenty of flooding in the lower fields, but the biggest impact was the loss of the majestic old maple tree in the front yard. Suddenly the shady berm was no longer in the shade! Now what? Did André redesign the whole bed? No, because many shade perennials can tolerate quite a bit of sun and they can often adapt to changes in exposure. Some plants didn’t fare well with the change and these plants were eventually replaced with other species but most have flourished even under these sunnier conditions. In the fall, the Japanese anemones are one of the highlights of this garden! Large crape myrtles, dogwoods, and winterberry hollies now provide adequate shade for Hosta and other shade loving perennials.
The beautiful rock wall garden at the back of the house was established in the spring of 1988. This exquisite garden provides our visitors with some valuable insights into establishing and planting rock gardens. In the fall of 1990, André designed and installed the large shade garden adjacent to the garden center. This has become one of my personal favorites probably because I have a lot of shade at my house and I get a lot of ideas when I wander along the paths. Surprise garden rooms with attractive statuary greet you all along the way!
Come experience the beauty of Viette's!