Maymont, Richmond, Va

Maymont, a Victorian estate on 100 acres and a public park in Richmond, Virginia. The Maymont Mansion is now a museum and arboretum. It also includes formal gardens, a carriage collection as well as a nature center and a children’s farm. James H. Dooley (a Richmond lawyer and philanthropist) and Sallie completed their lavish Gilded Age estate high above the James River in 1893. After their deaths, Maymont was handed to Richmond according to their wishes. In the following 75 years, more attractions were added

Maymont was named after Major Dooley’s spouse, Sallie May. The construction of the mansion was completed in 1893. In 1913, the Dooleys built a summer house on Afton Mount, Swannanoa.The American Planning Association named Maymont one of the Top 10 Public Spaces in 2011

The Japanese Garden.

Maymont’s Japanese Garden features a large waterfall and a koi-pond. There are also rock gardens, a torii arch and a variety of red maples in the Japanese Garden. It is a mix of different styles and time periods. A section of Kanawha Canal was purchased to make the garden a part in 1911. They hired Muto, a master Japanese gardener who had previously designed gardens on the East Coast.

The Japanese garden lost much of its beauty and design over the years after Mrs. Dooley died. It still retains its stonework and winding stream that leads to the large pond. Earth Design renovated the garden in 1978 after noticing the declining quality. Maymont guests can view the changing effects of nature on the Japanese garden by visiting the “stroll” garden.

Noland Baskervill of Richmond created The Italian Garden. It features a pergola and fountains as well as urns, roses, and urns. The garden’s creators modeled their design on the classical Italian style of the 15th and 16th centuries. The garden has many levels and faces the south, which once overlooked the James River. The Cascade and Fountain Court are designed in a manner similar to the Villa Torlonia in Rome. When the Petersburg granite stonework was laid, the Italian Garden was finished in 1910.

More than 200 species of trees are found in the arboretum. There are many “exotic champions”, including a Cedrus atlantica and Cryptomeria japonica, as well as Parrotia persica and Tilia europea. This collection of native and exotic trees was used not only for aesthetic purposes but also for scientific research. The Dooleys were sophisticated and their tree selection only adds to the sophistication of this family. The False Larch from Japan and Pseudolarix Kaempferia from China are two examples of exotic flora found on grounds. All these trees have one thing in common: they were planted to achieve optimal growth. Henry E. Baskervill, the landscaper responsible for the Italian garden’s design, is the one who deserves credit. The Dooleys also deserve credit, as they had final say in the design of the estates.


Maymont houses many native animals of the Commonwealth, in addition to the farm animals it keeps at the Children’s Farm. Many of these animals have suffered injuries and are unable to survive in the wild. These animals include bobcats, bald eagles and black bears as well as foxes. You can also see white-tailed deer and elk as well as the American bison. The park also has a nature center that displays many of the aquatic animals native to Virginia, such as alligators and sharks. You can find wild Canada geese and American snapping turtles throughout the park.

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