Every year, the Garden Club of Virginia showcases the best of Virginia’s gardens in its annual Historic Garden Week. Figuring prominently are the historic pavilion gardens at the University of Virginia, which are opened for guided tours and lectures as part of the celebration every year.

UVA’s gardens, located behind the 10 Lawn pavilions, were a part of Thomas Jefferson’s original design for the Academical Village. But the spaces, explored in recent years through projects such as Jefferson’s University – Early Life, originally functioned as closed-off workyards where enslaved people maintained and supported the University.

The present-day pavilion gardens were designed in the 1950s and ’60s as a gift from the Garden Club of Virginia, using plans created by landscape architects Alden S. Hopkins and Donald H. Parker.

With 2020’s Historic Garden Week events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is finding new ways to bring the gardens to visitors through social media posts and gardening tips.

For flower enthusiasts currently sheltering in place, here is our virtual tour of UVA’s pavilion gardens.

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The garden behind Pavilion I, home to Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley and his family, is currently in full bloom.
With Grounds largely empty, even the smallest visitors are visible.
The gardens as we know them today are a result of the Garden Club of Virginia’s efforts in the mid-20th century.
The Pavilion III garden is on the West Lawn. All five West Lawn gardens were designed by Alden S. Hopkins and dedicated in 1952.
After Hopkins’ death in 1960, landscape architect Donald H. Parker, with consultation from landscape architect Ralph Griswold, completed the design of the East Lawn gardens. They were dedicated in 1964.
From 1977 to 2008, several pavilion gardens were refurbished by landscape architect William D. Rieley.
Center for Politics Larry Sabato resides in Pavilion IV, which is home to a garden full of diverse plant life.
During a regular semester, students can often be seen studying in the Pavilion gardens.
UVA’s gardens vary widely in style, from Renaissance to 18th-century English style parks.
The current quiet of Grounds emanates from the once-bustling gardens.
Pavilion VII is home to UVA’s Colonnade Club.
The view from the garden of Pavilion VIII, home of Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Craig Kent, is full of life.
The gardens have changed aesthetically throughout the University’s history as their uses have changed.
The many winding paths of UVA’s gardens have inspired many artists throughout the years, including Georgia O’Keeffe.
The garden of Pavilion X, shown here, is the only garden that still contains the design work of landscape architect Warren Manning, who was hired by the Board of Visitors in 1908 to create a master plan for the University.

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