Enjoy the Berkeley-Jefferson House and Garden Tour April 23 & 24, 2016

Thomas Shepherd Inn is one of seven homes on this year’s Shenandoah-Potomac Garden CouncilOrange and yellow butterfly weed House and Garden Tour.  April 23 & 24, 2016 mark the 61st year the council has offered tours of houses and gardens in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties, West Virginia.  Over the years many have benefited from the Garden Council’s tireless work.  Local schools, libraries, parks and others have received assistance with projects valued between $3,000 and $10,000.  The garden clubs provide docents to describe the property, it’s architecture and furnishings, history, and, of course, the garden.

I had never been on a house and garden tour, so when I agreed to be one of the properties on this year’s tour I wanted to know both what was expected of me as a good host and what would make the experience just as good for those of you taking the tour.

Being prepared will help you get the most from your garden tour experience.  Knowing what to expect will keep your day running smoothly and leave you and your hosts with great memories when the day is done.

Thomas Shepherd Inn sign

Before you come –

  • Dress in layers.  Spring weather can be fickle.  Cool one moment, warm the next.
  • Wear comfortable, flat soled shoes.  Consider bringing a second pair in the car should the first get muddy.
  • Bring an umbrella for those “April Showers.”
  • Apply sunscreen and bug repellant before arriving and consider wearing a hat.
  • A towel or garbage bag in your car can save it from muddy shoes.
  • Bring a pad and pen to write down names of plants, who did craft or art work, or any other tidbits of information that seem interesting.
  • Use the restroom before you begin the tour.  Hosts do not supply restroom facilities.
  • Leave your pets at home.  Service animals are always welcome.
  • Visit only during tour hours.  It is a long day for hosts and docents.


In the house –

  • Ask lots of questions!  Hosts and docents love to share their knowledge.
  • Indoor photography is not allowed.
  • When entering, let those who are leaving out before you enter.
  • Let those who are upstairs descend before going up.
  • Follow the guidance of the docents.
  • Leave household items in place.  Enjoy them by looking only.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the house.
  • Take any trash (wrappers, etc.) with you.


In the garden –

  • Ask lots of questions!
  • Please do not pick plants, remove markers, or pick weeds.  Hosts do not provide cuttings or divisions of plants.
  • Follow the guidance of the docents.
  • Photographs are allowed for personal use only.
  • Keep in mind that a host’s vision of their garden may not be yours.  Critical comments are best saved for later, but questions as to if or why something didn’t work as planned are always welcome.  We can all learn from each other.


When the tour is complete –

  • Thank your hosts and docents.  They volunteer their time and hard work to provide a memorable experience.
  • And last but not least, thank you for taking the house and garden tour.    Without you we would be just a lovely house and garden.  With you and your support the Shenandoah-Potomac Garden Council can continue its good work that benefits the entire community.




6 thoughts on “Enjoy the Berkeley-Jefferson House and Garden Tour April 23 & 24, 2016

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    Many thanks again for a great article!

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