On April 28, 1758 James Monroe was born in Westmoreland County on what is now Route 205 just outside of the town of Colonial Beach.
The 74-acre Monroe birth site is a Registered Virginia Historic Landmark Grant Area. Monroe died on July 4, 1831 making July 4th, our Nation’s birthday, a fitting time to recognize our 5th United States President.
Other than the Historic landmark sign, an obelisk helps drivers to recognize the site. The property is now owned and operated through the James Monroe Foundation with input from Westmoreland County.
If one enters the site, there are some wonderful things to enjoy. The convenient parking area nested in the historic pine grove, a brick visitor’s center with a picnic area, walking trails, a canoe ramp, a marker of the actual home site and a restful garden.
The garden, approved by the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, was established as part of National Garden Clubs, Inc., the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. and the Historic Garden Restoration Symposium. The garden garnered approval as part of the James Monroe Birthplace Park Master Plan, which contained a focus on local flora and fauna.
The garden is in the dimensions of the Monroe home as determined by archaeological research. Plantings were researched through the Monticello Center for Historical Plants and are plantings that would have been accepted and expected at the time of Monroe’s birth.
The garden has been planned for year-round interest starting with the surround of hollies. Some of the flowers to be enjoyed at present are Daisies, Monarda, Black-eyed Susans, Coreopsis, Purple Cone Flower, and Lilies.
Bob’s Vegetable Stand and Hall’s Grocery have kindly donated Impatiens, Marigold’s and Spider Lilies to add to this year’s beauty. Thomas Jefferson Garden Club member, Janice Doyle, from Charlottesville and Colonial Beach headed the garden project eight years ago and does regular garden maintenance at the garden.
Emily Hynson of Hall’s Super Market and Bob Jochum of Bob’s Vegetable Stand donated plants to the garden.
The visitor center is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 804-224-2701.
Submitted by Janice Doyle