Search this site
the Piedmont Virginia Homethe MagazineRegional GuideUpcoming EventsArchivesBlogAdvertisersAbout UsContact Us Follow Us on Facebook Twitter Home Subscribe Preview the current issue Pick up a copy

In This Issue

Early release: Historic Garden Week

Photos to come!

By Mary Hintermann

What event was conceived in Charlottesville, has been replicated with great success worldwide, sells over 30,000 tickets each year, and is the largest volunteer project in the Commonwealth? The answer is Historic Garden Week, sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia.   

What started as a two-day fair in 1927 to raise money to preserve Thomas Jefferson’s remaining trees at Monticello has grown to 32 tours over eight consecutive days and has had an estimated $425 million boost on Virginia’s economy.  

The results of the first economic impacts study for Historic Garden Week have just been released.  Chmura Economics and Analytics of Richmond quantified what the 3,400 volunteers who work on Garden Week each year already know:  Garden Week is  a big deal. 

  • $11 million in annual economic impact

  • 30,000 tickets sold to visitors from 30 states 

  • $2 million spent by visitors on food, gas, and hotels

  • $3.2 million spent by homeowners preparing their properties for tour 

  • 80,000 copies of the four-color guidebook are distributed annually

  • 2,000 floral arrangements created using plant materials from local gardens

Historic Garden Week holds true to its roots as a fundraiser: 48 historically significant gardens have been restored with funds raised by the tours. The Piedmont region is home to seven of these superb restorations:  Oatlands in Leesburg, State Arboretum of Virginia, Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, The DuPont Gardens at Montpelier, and the University of Virginia and Monticello in Charlottesville.  All of these gardens are regularly open to the public.  

Thirty-two tours showcasing 200 private homes and public spaces are on tap for the weeklong festival beginning on April 18th. This year, the James River Plantations will make a welcomed return to the itinerary. The six Piedmont tours (located in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Leesburg, Morven, Orange, and Warrenton) regularly attract more than 7,000 visitors every year.

See you in the gardens!

For more information:

Click here for a printable map and details for the Historic Garden Week locations in the Piedmont

Pick up a copy of the new issue!

Our Winter Issue is the Food Issue!

We are celebrating the food, wine, and producers of the Piedmont. Included in the food section are Carla Hogue's regular column including a musing on growing from seeds and hearty bean recipes. Brian Licorowic's regular column gives us ideas for winter salads. Amy Fewell lets us peek into her great-grandmother's scrapbook for old-time recipes from back when cooking was simpler. Cassandra Brown shows us hydroponic lettuce being grown in Haymarket, and Kit Johnston lets us in on an annual tradition: The Piedmont Game Dinner.

Also featured are an informative and entertaining article about local black bears by Celia Vuocolo, and contemplations on the growing cycle on local farms by regular writer Hardie Newton. Art features include the art of Jennet Inglis, whose love of the Virginia landscape inspires her, and a profile and photographs from Sandy Long, the recent Artist-in-Residence in Shenandoah National Park. Poetry by Nancy Allen rounds out the issue, except, of course, for the beautiful writing of Walter Niclkin as he contemplates the winter landscape of Rappahannock county in his usual column, Letter from Amissville.

Many small articles are included in our up-front "Tastings" section, and our "Desserts" pages show photos from two Artist Showcases sponsored by the Piedmont Virginian: the River District Arts Artist Showcase, and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at Montpelier’s ‘Art at the Races’ Plein Air Event. Other events include the Warrenton Antiquarian Society fundraiser for Weston, and the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra Benefit Gala at Oakwood. And, as always, the Calendar of things going on in the area, but keep in mind there is only so much room in the print issue, so there are many more events on our website. Follow us on Facebook for weekly updates!

On this page you will find some excerpts of some of the articles. To read more, pick up a copy at one of our newsstand locations or subscribe for the print magazine. Don't want to wait? Get immediate access to the current issue by subscribing to our digital edition

Letter From Amissville

The Landscape in Winter

By Walter Nicklin

In spring, summer, and fall, the rolling landscape that forms the Virginia Piedmont is provocatively and suggestively decked out in fancy foliage and fashionable colors, from the pastels of spring to the dark hues of autumn. But after the last leaves fall, the land is not simply disrobed, as in human nakedness.  Rather, the land can be said to be like a nude, perhaps the oldest and most beautiful art form in the Western tradition. As Lord Kenneth Clark, the art historian, famously said, to be naked is to be deprived of clothes, implying embarrassment and shame, while a nude is a work of art.

More practically, wintertime is when you can see, really see, the lay of the land. It’s the one, true time, most realtors will tell you, that you can actually see what you’re buying if what you’re buying is raw, undeveloped land.  Rock ledges, ridges, and swales — at other times blurred and camouflaged — suddenly leap into view.  And their lines are stark and clean, evoking a purity to the vision that is reminiscent of the nude Greek gods in ancient statutes.

There is, too, of course, a whisper of death in the winter landscape, but that is not without its own transcendent beauty. Certain wild creatures that have not gone to ground or headed south can be heard or seen in the rustling, fallen leaves.  And you don’t have to believe in Greek gods to know, as surely as the sun rises every morning, that in just a few short weeks spring will reawaken everything. The world will be reborn.

In the meantime, you get to glimpse the after-life in skeletal trees and decomposing stalks. Moreover, your aesthetic sense becomes more expansive when you realize that a plant’s structure, form, and texture are perhaps even more important than its color. The sculptural remains of dead and dormant plants in midwinter stand out in peaceful, subtle, and stately contrast to the mostly monochromatic background palette of browns and grays. In this context, the flamboyant display of color that comes with flowers in the spring can seem almost pornographic. 

Evergreens, of course, inject some color into the winter landscape, but it is a green so dark and somber that it seems almost funeral-like black.  The Virginia cedar stands out, not because of its often diminutive height and statue or even its pleasant aroma but because it’s everywhere, like Christmas ornaments, decorating the landscape. Along fence lines, in any uncut field, at woodland’s edge, they’re ubiquitous. 

Formally called the Juniperus virginiana, it’s also known as the Eastern red-cedar, red cedar, Eastern juniper, red juniper, pencil cedar, or aromatic cedar. The Native American name means “redwood.”  European settlers first took note of it on Roanoke Island, in 1564, and it became prized — because of its resistance to insects and weather — by colonists for building furniture, rail fences, and log cabins.

But nowadays it’s often considered a weed tree because it is so hardy and prolific. In ecological succession, it is term a “pioneer invader” — meaning it is one of the first trees to repopulate cleared, eroded, or otherwise damaged land. Because it is resistant to extremes of drought, heat and cold and can grow well in all types of soil (rocky, sandy, clay), it is a Darwinian survivor, often living for hundreds of years. During the 1930s Dust Bowl, farmers were encouraged to plant eastern juniper to create wind breaks. Perhaps the only negative that can be said of the tree is that, as an alternate host for the fungal disease known cedar-apple rust, it should not be allowed to grow near apple orchards.

Birds are especially fond of the small bluish berries produced by the cedar. These seeds pass through the birds’ guts in just a few minutes, and the seeds consumed by birds have levels of germination roughly three times higher than the uneaten seeds. As the birds digest their meal, they often sit on fences.  No wonder so many brand new cedar trees can be spotted growing along just about any Piedmont fence line.

Yes, the winter landscape invites observation and contemplation.

A Great-Grandmother's Scrapbook

Writing and photos by Amy Fewell

It was one of those crisp evenings where you’ve fallen in love with the change in the air and the season of bonfires, but you’d rather stay inside curled up on the sofa underneath your warm blanket. I didn’t get to stay inside underneath the blanket that evening: my grandparents were in the final stages of packing and moving to a new house. Grandma had been asking me for months to come and go through boxes of old items. She wanted all of us girls to take whatever we wanted, because who knows what the hands of time would take away from us all too soon.

I found some trinkets from childhood, things that I knew others wouldn’t attach any sentiment to. There were old photos of me as a child, as well  as photos of aunts and uncles and many lost loved ones. The evening was one that I cherished, and still do. And the fact that my husband and child were there with me, watching my family’s history unfold before us, was even more of a treasure.

I couldn’t take my eyes off a little tattered box that sat in the corner. “It’s just some old recipes, dear,” grandma said slowly. I could see she was tired and long overdue for bed. As I started to close the box, a small book at the bottom of that cardboard square caught my eye. I dug down deep, past magazine clippings, and stacks of banded together recipes that she had collected for the past 30 or more years. I could feel the little black composition book crumbling as I slowly lifted it out of the box. 

“What’s this, Grandma?” I asked.  Her eyebrows slanted as she tried to remember what those brittle pages contained. “I’m not quite sure, open it up.”

The penmanship of recipes that graced the yellowed pages instantly took us back to a time of old —when food was simple and versatile, housewives had coarse hands from working on the farm, and children ate what they were served because there wasn’t much else they could eat. The flow of the letters into words were delicately written, and with one quick look, I knew I had to have it.

In all of her grace, she could not think of where the book came from or exactly who had written it, but she knew her mother, my great-grandmother, had used it once. And that’s all that mattered to me. I had great plans for this little book. I planned to make copies of the pages, giving a facsimile of the book to each lady in our family. I planned on transferring copies to canvas, and adorning my kitchen with them. 

The hands of time never stop, so while my big plans for this little book have yet to be implemented, I hope that you can enjoy a few of these simple recipes. Recipes that might not ever win an award for their colorful flavors, but ones that take you back to home, to the way it once used to be.    

Read the full article, see the old-time recpies and more of Amy's gorgeous photographs in our Winter issue.

Pick up a copy at one of our newsstand locations

Don't want to wait? Subscribe to our digital version and see it right now!

Black Bear Primer

By Celia Vuocolo
Photo Credit: Deborah Kozura

According to Chippewa legend, a long time ago there was a large forest fire on the shores of Lake Michigan. It forced a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake in an attempt to escape the flames. The mother bear eventually swam to the opposite shore, but could not find her cubs. Fatigued, the mother bear lay down on top of a bluff and waited for her cubs to arrive. Unfortunately they had perished in the lake. But the Great Spirit had been watching, and as recognition for the mother bear’s unwillingness to give up, two islands (North and South Manitou islands) were created in their memory.  The Great Spirit called up the winds and they buried the sleeping mother bear under a sand mound, which still stands.  This is how Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan earned its name.

Many Native American tribes have legends centered around the black bear.  The black bear was a symbol of wisdom, protection, and strength, and was frequently adopted as a “clan animal” for many tribes.  Like 21st century Americans, these early Native peoples lived alongside the black bear.  Black bears, or Ursus americanus, are still viewed by many today as a species that embodies strength and mystery.

The American black bear is one of three bear species found in North America, and the only one found in Virginia.  Although it shares a continent with the brown bear and the polar bear, it is more genetically similar to the Asian black bear and the sun bear (found in tropical forests of Southeast Asia).  Black bears have historically inhabited the vast forests of North America.  However, they have shown remarkable versatility in the face of urbanization and can now be found comfortably living next door to American suburbia.

Throughout the fall and early winter, bears are eating as much fatty foods as possible in order to prepare for hibernation.  An increase in property damage as bears rifle through garbage cans, dumpsters, garages, crop fields, and livestock in an attempt to obtain calories, usually causes conflicts between black bears and humans.  

While there have been two significant black bear attacks in the Mid-Atlantic this year (one in George Washington National Forest and one in New Jersey), fatal attacks on humans continue to be incredibly rare.  In fact, you are more likely to be killed by a dog, lightning strike, or by riding a bike, then you are to be killed by a black bear.  

Black bears, unless conditioned to associate food with humans, generally avoid people.  Intentionally feeding bears in Virginia is illegal, but unintentional feeding can be just as dangerous. Here are a few tips for avoiding conflicts with black bears:

1. Never intentionally feed bears.

2. Remove or secure all potential food sources (bird feeders, bee hives, pet food).  Take down bird feeders April 1 to December 1 and clean your grill. 

3. Secure your garbage can. This is the most common source of unintentional feeding.  Do not leave garbage outside in the open or purchase/construct a bear-proof garbage container if you begin to have issues.

4. Do not leave your pets outside unattended. Dogs in particular will try to engage bears or tree them, which can result in a dangerous conflict for all those involved.

By following these guidelines and adopting the respect that our continent’s early people bestowed upon the black bear, we can ensure that humans and black bears can successfully co-exist in the 21st century.  

Read the full article in our Winter issue.

Pick up a copy at one of our newsstand locations

Don't want to wait? Subscribe to our digital version and see it right now!

Jennet Inglis, Artist

Virginia Nature Guides Her Self-Taught Artistry

By Jennet Inglis

My love affair with Virginia began at first light one summer morning in my fourteenth year. After driving with my father the previous evening in a thunderstorm and torrential downpour, the following morning, in a dense thicket of honeysuckle, was my first glimpse of a Carolina Wren. More than a “soul-satisfying” look, the bird was a mere few feet away. In the dawn light, swollen with moisture, the perfume of the honeysuckle damp, smothering me like fog, the tiny wren lifted its beak to the sky, perked up its tail, and out came a song of life and the most exquisite joy.

The gentle lilting sense of a contract made with my soul that day eventually guided me, and my work, back to Virginia. Unlike my experience anywhere else in the U.S., the spiritual saturation of the light, her mountains and valleys, the sweet chanting of her rivers and the soulful humanity of those who honor her beauty has, all of it, immeasurably nurtured my soul and my work.

Never have I lived in a place that so richly mirrors the magnitude of Creation as Virginia. Whether the life of her horses, her light, or her rivers, or on the roadmap—here is food for my soul like no other place.

Image: James River Valley
Header Image (from home page): Painted Thunder

Read the full article with many more works of art in our Winter issue.

Pick up a copy at one of our newsstand locations

Don't want to wait? Subscribe to our digital version and see it right now!

Magic and Mystery of Seeds

From Garden to Kitchen with Carla Hogue and Rick Vergot

Writing, recipes and photos by Carla Hogue

Come winter, three things happen at our house. 1) I complain about the cold. 2) I keep complaining about the cold. 3) We start the seeds.

Ahh, the simple, wholesome act of planting a seed. Every kindergartener has done it. It seemed manageable enough. I mean, what were we looking at? A few seed packets? A little soil? So easy, we would be stupid not to. And that, of course, falls under the category of famous last words.

In the deep cold of the next January, we started making a list. The catalogs at this time of year are particularly persuasive. The only thing that stood between us and a pseudo-summerlike seed growing paradise was whether UPS could get up the icy driveway to deliver all the boxes.

We bought a four-tiered grow light, dozens of seed-starting flats, some kind of kooky coconut growing medium, and lots and lots of seeds. Suddenly, that kindergarten flashback had taken on the dimensions of an agricultural lab at a research university. This is, apparently, what two people with no children will spend their time doing in the dead of winter. We cared for the seedlings as if the success of the human race depended on our ability to cultivate a tomato plant.

This year, we tried it. We saved spinach, tomato, bean, watermelon, and marigold seeds. Did we do it right? Will they sprout when we launch our seed starting initiative this winter? The suspense is killing me.

Seed Starting Tips

1. You don’t have to start everything indoors before the spring plant. Things like beans, cucumbers, squash, and watermelon have done just fine when we sowed the seeds directly in the garden. We even directly sowed white scallop squash against all the conventional wisdom at the last possible minute of this past growing season and were rewarded with gorgeous squash into November.

2. If you plan to save seeds from vegetables you plant this year, be sure you are growing heirloom varieties, so next year’s plants will remain true. Hybrids may revert back to an earlier version of themselves, which can be disappointing.

3. Our favorite source for seeds is the above mentioned Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Check out the website at They offer over 1600 varieties from 75 countries, and every single one is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented.


In the Winter Issue: Greek Giant Bean Stew with Lemon-Honey Sauce

Joe Yonan featured this in The Washington Post Magazine, October 5, 2014, in the column “Plate Lab, Restaurant Recipes for the Home.” Ricky and I got to taste it at a Plate Lab dinner party hosted by Joe Yonan and Bonnie Benwick at the Salamander Resort in October. Delicious.

Online: Middle Eastern Bean Salad

We found this bean recipe on the website under Jeff & Linda’s Kitchen of Diversity, July 2014. We haven’t tried it yet, but given the flavors and simplicity, it looks like a winner.


For more musings on seeds, growing, and the circle of the life of Piedmont farms, see Curvilinear Contemplations by Hardie Newton in the Winter issue


Never having actually taken seriously the fact that many growers plant seed solely to produce seed, the idea encourages contemplation. Plantsmen and farmers who, through the ages, have dedicated their lives to collecting, growing and hybridizing seeds, are involved in lifetime work, a gift to future generations. Having personally limited myself to planting seeds to solely produce beautiful flowers and vegetables, seems mindless when compared to more lofty ambitions. 

Read the full article in our Winter issue.

Pick up a copy at one of our newsstand locations

Don't want to wait? Subscribe to our digital version and see it right now!

Wholesome Winter Salads

One of Brian's recpies that didn't make it into the print edition:

Veggie salad with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and “Intense” Orange Tahini dressing

The Piedmont Virginian Magazine | 309 Jett St., Washington, VA 22747 | 540-349-2951 office | 540-675-3088 fax
© 2014. All Rights Reserved  |  Advertise With Us  |  About Piedmont Virginian Magazine
website design and development by ... SiteWhirks
FIFA 16 Coins,FIFA 15 Coins,FIFA 15 Coins,Iphone6 Plus,Wedding Dresses,Fashion Jewelry,Fashion Guides,FIFA 15 Coins,Health Guides,Fashion Shoes,WoW Gold,WoW Gold,FIFA 15 Coins,Wedding Dresses,Guild Wars 2 Gold,FIFA 15 Coins