Sunday Morning on the Plantation

Aug. 25th 2013


What a wonderful sight to behold, rising to blue skies and calm still waters of the Rappahannock River. The trees reflect in the water giving the appearance of a second line of trees. It is hard to know what is real and not real. The birds fly over the river as their reflection seems to chase them.


The plantation is starting to settle down after all the upheaval in landscaping and driveway work. Standing on the back portico I am greeted by the beautiful old Crepe Myrtles that have adorn the back bluff for years. Their branches of delicate pink blooms seem to bend with the weight of their fullness.


As do the newest additions of the knockout roses in the beds along the back portico. It seems is if they have found a perfect place and have grown both in size and number of blooms.


Looking to the other young Crepe Myrtle towards the side courtyard, it seems lonely standing there. We have decided to add a raised bed around its base and will be placing flowers to accompany it. Then it won’t be so lonely.


Just beyond it stands our poor Crab Apple Tree. Just this spring, it presented us with beautiful pink blooms that numbered in the hundreds to thousands. But this year hasn’t been as kind to our poor tree. It has lost two major branches to storms. But thankfully it has held a beautiful shape and hopefully will take no more hits from the weather.20130825_100334

Yes, today is going to be a beautiful day!

Wish you were here!

To see what wonderful things are going on with our plantation

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 19 Comments »

The Landscaping, Sidewalk, Hurley and an Incredible Find have arrived!

Jun. 24th 2013


Saturday morning at 10am, a huge red Kenworth truck pulled into Belle Grove Plantation bearing lots of beautiful new plants! We also had 17 wonderful volunteers who gave of their time and worked hard in the heat to help us unload and plant 1/3 of the plants! We can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciate all our volunteers! We could have never done this alone!


Thank you to the following:

Mr. and Mrs. Hudson

Mr. and Mrs. Moore

King George Board of Supervisors Ruby Brabo and her daughter Clara

Mrs. Veazey and her son Warren

Mrs. Durrette and her daughter Rachel

Mr. and Mrs. Crosson

Mrs. DeGroat from Chesapeake

Mrs. Barnett from Chesapeake

Mrs. Goodall and her friend Alex from Richmond

We had the following plants to arrive:

Blaauw’s Pink Azalea – Delaware Valley White Azalea – Girard’s Renee Michelle  Azalea – Karen Azalea – Milky Way Dogwoods – Old English boxwoods – Golden Mop Cypress – Pink Velour Crepe Myrtles – Monarda Petite Delight – Karl Rosenfeld Peony – Okame Japanese Cherry Trees – Double Red Knockout Roses – Double Pink Knockout Roses – Crown Jewel Gardenia – Leyland Cypress – Twist and Shout Hydrangea – Limelight Hydrangea – Charles Joly Hydrangea – Sunny Yellow Knockout Roses

Leyland Cypress

Leyland Cypress

Double Red Knockout Roses

Double Red Knockout Roses

Pink Velour Crepe Myrtles

Pink Velour Crepe Myrtles

Crown Jewel Gardenia

Crown Jewel Gardenia

Old English Boxwood

Old English Boxwood

Golden Mop Cypress already planted

Golden Mop Cypress already planted

One bed almost complete

One bed almost complete

As we were digging holes, we were finding more artifacts! One find was more than we could have hoped for! Alex found two parts of a white plate and two pieces of green glass. As soon as I saw the green glass I knew it was from an old wine bottle. But you just couldn’t date it because it lacked markings. But the white plate looked really interesting! I held my breath and hoped until today. I ran to Ferry Farm to get it dated! Mara confirmed my wildest dream! It dates from 1740 to 1755! It is now the oldest pieces we have found on Belle Grove! And the date would have been when James Madison’s Grandmother was still here! Can you believe it?! James Madison’s Grandmother, Rebecca Catlett Conway Moore and his mother, Nelly Conway Madison could have held this plate!! It just blows your mind!

White Plate (1740 to 1755)

White Plate (1740 to 1755)

Green Glass from a Wine Bottle. Found in the same hole believed to be the same dates

Green Glass from a Wine Bottle. Found in the same hole believed to be the same dates

While we were hard at work on the landscaping, we had a crew of hard working masons from Betts Masonry working hard on our sidewalks. You know that we have been pulling our brick from the Riverside to move to the front. Well Saturday we started seeing the fruit of our labors! We love this sidewalk! It should be done by Friday if we don’t get delayed by the weather!

Getting Started on the Sidewalk

Getting Started on the Sidewalk

Getting Started on the Sidewalk

Getting Started on the Sidewalk




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And I know we haven’t talked much about Hurley , our Official Plantation dog, because I have been at Belle Grove and he and Brett have been in Chesapeake. Well Hurley has arrived back at Belle Grove Plantation! He has a photo shoot on Tuesday with a soon to be bride.


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Just like me, he is discovering lots of new things, like this fake owl on the porch! I don’t think he cares for it.





After all the hard work, the end of the day gave us a wonderful sunset!


Just another great day at Belle Grove Plantation!

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Hurley | 16 Comments »