Maymont is a Victorian estate and public park that contains Maymont Mansion, now a historic house museum, an arboretum, formal gardens, a carriage collection, native wildlife exhibits, a nature center, and Children's Farm.
In 1893, Major James H. Dooley, a wealthy Richmond lawyer, and philanthropist, and his wife, Sallie, completed their elaborate Gilded Age estate on a site high above the James River. Maymont was named after Dooley's wife, Sallie May. Construction took three years and started in 1890. According to their wishes, after their deaths, Maymont was left to the people of Richmond. Over the next 75 years, additional attractions were added.
The Japanese Garden at Maymont features a koi pond, a large waterfall, a torii arch, rock gardens, and various red maples. It is a blend of two different time periods and a mixture of many styles of gardens. In 1911, a section of the Kanawha Canal was bought to be a part of the garden.
The Japanese Garden lost some of its magnificence in the years following Mrs. Dooley's passing. After realizing the decline of the quality of the garden, Earth Design renovated it in 1978. The new design of the Japanese is considered a "stroll garden" which offers guests at Maymont to see how the changing impact of nature has on the grounds. The garden still has its stonework and winding watercourse that leads to its large pond.
Created by Noland and Baskervill of Richmond, The Italian Garden features a pergola, fountains, urns and roses. The creators of the garden modeled their design after the 15th and 16th century Italian classical style. The garden is laid out on many levels, facing the south which once over looked the James River. The design of the Cascade and the Fountain Court is patterned like the Villa Torlonia near Rome. The Italian Garden was completed in 1910, when the Petersburg granite stonework was laid down.
The arboretum contains more than 200 species of trees and woody plants. It includes a number of "exotic champions" as well. Some examples of exotic flora that are on grounds include the False Larch and Pseudolarix kaempferia from Japan; the White Enkianthus and the Enkianthis perulatas from China; and the Persian Ironwood. A characteristic of all these trees is the fact that they were planted for optimal growth. This is credited to the same landscaper who helped with the design of the Italian garden, Henry E. Baskervill.
Maymont's gardens are popular for outdoor weddings focused around the Italian Garden, the Japanese Garden and numerous gazebos located throughout the grounds.
There are ten specialty gardens scattered across the grounds. The "Marie's Butterfly Garden" was finished in 2009 and starts east of the Children's Farm and goes along the horse and cow pastures, down to the Bobcat habitat. Examples of flowers in this garden include yarrow, butterfly weed, cone flowers, butterfly bushes, sunflowers, blue spirea, and herbs. There is a Herb Garden on grounds as well. The herbs are grown for culinary, medicinal potpourri uses and the garden has been maintained by the Old Dominion Herb Society since 1978. This garden is the centerpiece of the 'Herbs Galor' festival that happens at the park.
In addition to the farm animals that it keeps in the Children's Farm, Maymont is the permanent home of several animals that are native to Virginia. Many of these animals have been injured and are otherwise unable to live in the wild. These animals include bald eagles, a bobcat, black bears and foxes. Visitors are also able to see white-tailed deer, elk, and American bison. A nature center is also on the grounds, which exhibits many aquatic animals found in and around Virginia such as otters, alligators, and sharks. Throughout the park, Canada geese, American snapping turtles, numerous species of snakes, and American bullfrogs can be found in the wild.
Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover Image was taken by Morgan Riley and sourced from Wikipedia (Creative Commons by 3.0)