Gardens & Birds
The Afton Villa Plantation dates back to the year 1820 by original owner Bartholomew Barrow. Mr. Barrow started with a modest two-story home and a large tract of land. His son David Barrow assumed ownership some years later and upon his second marriage in 1847 at the bequest of his new wife, began transforming the plantation into a pretentious 40 room Gothic Revival mansion with extensive formal gardens.
Construction on the home began in the year 1849 and wasn't completed for eight years. Mr. & Mrs. David Barrow resided at Afton Villa through the Civil War. In 1874 David Barrow passed on and wife Susan moved back home to Kentucky.
In 1915, following the mansion's period as a girl's boarding school, a Dr. Robert E. Lewis bought the home and restored the old formal gardens. The next owner, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Percy, bought the property in 1945 and completely renovated the home to the grand mansion as a showplace. Unfortunately in 1963 the home was totally destroyed by fire. The present owners bought the property in 1972 and have dedicated to preserve the gardens and sharing them with the public.
Although the plantation house is no longer existing, the ruins of the home bring history into the 21st century to this 20 acre parcel of extensive formal gardens and pleasure grounds. The entrance to the grounds are well received by a long oak-alley mixed with numerous indigenous plants to the area. Some examples of plants found in the gardens and grounds are: camellias, sweet olive, magnolia fuscata, flowering seasonal bulbs, hydrangeas and azaleas. Other plants from the region include: tulip tree, winter honeysuckle, cowcumber, wild ferns, Silverbell tree and Grancy Greybeard. There is also over 80,000 daffodils planted on the grounds; Carlton, Mt. Hood, Delibes, Yellow Sun and others.
The gardens and grounds are also ideal for photography and bird watching. There are two small ponds on the property were migrating waterfowl are attracted. Surrounded by heavy wooded land, Afton Villa is a natural haven for bird life.
Although driving down the oak alley to the mansion ruins is allowed, it is recommended to take a stroll through the tree arched alley remembering what life was like, enjoy the nature around you. The absence of the plantation home is overshadowed by the formal gardens and grounds, a visit to Afton Villa will be enjoyed by all ages.
Afton Villa is located approximately four miles north of St. Francisville, La. on the left (west) side of US Hwy 61 north. The gardens are open to the public in two seasons, March 1st - July 1st and October 1st - December 1st, Hours 9am to 4:30 pm daily. Admission fee charged.
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