Sunday, March 24, 2013

Afton Villa Garden Tour–Part I

Hello, everyone!  Today I’m sharing a fabulous garden tour!  I have lived in this area all my life and a couple of years ago, the husband and I went to the gardens and I was hooked!  I’ve been back every year!  First let me show you what it looked like before…..
This is Afton Villa before it burned in the 1960's. It contained 40 room's and was built around an earleir house. This photo came from a old book called Ghosts along the Mississippi by Clarence John Laughlin. He was also the photographer.
This photo came from an old book called Ghosts along the Mississippi by Clarence John Laughlin. He was also the photographer. 
The history of Afton Villa is entwined with that of the Barrows, one of the richest and most prominent families in antebellum Louisiana. Bartholomew Barrow purchased the land in 1820 from his brother William, and in 1839 he sold it to his son, David. David would eventually carve out a thriving plantation empire of some 2,000 to 3,000 acres, which would make him, according to the 1860 census, the wealthiest planter in West Feliciana Parish. Originally there was a two story home that I was unable to find any pictures of, if any exist.  After the death of his first wife, David married Susan A. Woolfok. Susan wanted a larger and more glamorous home but David did not want to tear down the original home.  He told Susan that she could build another home but the original had to remain intact.  In 1849, work on Afton Villa began.  It was built around the existing small house to create an imposing Gothic Revival villa of some 40 rooms.  It took 8 years to build, as well as the the gardens that covered 25 acres. David Barrow died in 1874 and his wife continued to live at Afton Villa until 1876, when she sold the estate. The house was struck by lightening and destroyed by fire in 1963.
Photo from  Click on the pic to go to the site where there is also a virtual tour.
This is the front view of the gardens today as it faces the driveway.
Afton Villa circa 1938
Instead of the house, you would see the statues lined up down the front.  The driveway is still in the same location.  As you come up the steps….
Afton Villa Gardens St Francisillve, LA - a garden among ruins
you can see piles of bricks and concrete.  Flowers and ground cover have been tucked in open spots.  I was so struck by the textures!  It’s funny how a pile of bricks can make such an impression!  As you walk straight, as if you were going through the front door…
afton villa garden, st francisville, la
there is a circular terraced area that is surrounded by overflowing flower beds and shaded by trees draped in Spanish moss.  This is the view from the back.
afton villa gardens
Afton Villa Gardens, St. Francisville, LA
In the background, behind the butterfly chairs, you can see the ruins of the old kitchen area.
afton villa garden
As you exit the terraced area, to the left is a set of stairs that leads down to the kitchen area, at least I think I remember being told that by a guide on one of my previous trips.
afton villa gardens, st francisville, la
This MIGHT be my favorite area!
afton villa
It is just so beautiful!  Every area is accented with plants.
afton villa gardens
This is looking up from the kitchen area to a set of steps that were outside the home leading to the upper floor.
afton villa gardens
Even the cracks in concrete have plants tucked it!  And don’t you just love this massive concrete table!
afton villa gardens
This is the wall kitchen wall from another angle.  Since this is the back of the house, I’ll share a picture that was taken in 1938 of that area.
Afton Villa pic taken 1938 - back view
It looks different from the front.  Well there were different materials used.  The back appears to be all wood and the front is stucco and cypress.
Since I don’t want to overload your brain with too many pics, I’ll finish the tour on Friday.  Thanks for much for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of the Afton Villa tour!
Sharing with:
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Make it Pretty @ The Dedicated House
Spring Thing Linky Party @ Simply Klassic Home
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Open House @ No Minimalist Here
Tuesdays Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
The Scoop Link Party @ The Farmhouse Porch
Tuesdays at Our Home @ Our Home Away From Home
Show Me What Ya Got @ Not JUST A Housewife
Working With What You Have @ Emily A Clark
Be Inspired Friday @ Common Ground
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Fabulously Creative Party @ Jennifer Rizzo
Tweak it Tuesday @ Cozy Little House
Tips, Tutorials, & Tidbits @ StoneGable
Winter Blues Party @ DIY by Design
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style


  1. Oh I am absolutely swooning with delight. Such beauty!

    1. It is beautiful but I've only shared half of it! More is coming!

  2. Replies
    1. You definitely need to go! You can pack a picnic and have it own to the grounds, too!

  3. Oh thank you for the tour. So green and so colorful. We received six inches of snow over the weekend so no green going on here.

  4. Oh what a joy to see sunshine and beautiful flowers and green. We have snow here and it's almost Easter! Thanks for the tour...can't wait to see more.

  5. I love stately gardens! And what a gorgeous "decorated" space this is to enjoy nature.

    Maya @ Completely Coastal

  6. your newest follower ...would love for you to follow back :)

    1. Thanks for following along! I just dropped by for a visit and am now a new follower of yours!

  7. Tammy, I love your area of Louisiana and especially the River Road. Is there still a ferry crossing that would take vehicles and passengers across to continue the River Road toward Natchez? We enjoyed that trip from Louisiana to Mississippi and seeing the historic homes in both states many years ago. Thanks for sharing all these great photos and the history of your area is fascinating.

    1. Hi Helen, The ferry in St. Francisville was closed a couple of years ago upon the completion of a new bridge. There is a pilgrimage that goes on the entire month of March in Natchez but I've never had a chance to go!

  8. What magnificent gardens!! Love how they're intertwined with the ruins of the mansion.
    Mary Alice

  9. I love places with steps going up and down that feel like secret passageways. This is so pretty.

  10. That is one over the top beautiful tour Tammy!
    Thanks so much for sharing - felt like I was walking beside you the whole way!
    What a mansion that must have been - love love love architecture - so this was
    a perfect post to swoon over for me :)

  11. Love garden tours! Thank YOU!
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas


Thank you so much for all your lovely comments! I try to return the favor and visit each one of you! ~Blessings, Tammy~