Without plants, there would be no oxygen and nothing to prevent bunnies from discovering that humans taste delicious. Help keep it that way with today's Groupon: for $5, you get two adult-admission passes to Afton Villa Gardens in St. Francisville (a $10 value). Children aged 12 and younger receive free admission.
Throughout the nearly two centuries of its compelling history, Afton Villa Gardens has packed 250 acres of soil with vibrant flora and lush greenery, much of it native to Louisiana. Visitors enter through a flower-lined front gate that hints at the natural wonders that lie within. From there, a road flanked by moss-hung oak trees, azaleas, and marmalade skies satiate starving eyes. Within the confines of the garden, neoclassical Italian statues keep watch over the haunting remains of Afton Villa as tulips, daffodils, irises, and wild ferns populate the grounds in sun-worshiping clusters. A re-creation of a 19th century parterre breathes with camellias, sweet olive, magnolia, and hydrangeas amid shapely hedges, while the music-room garden houses a quartet of instrument-playing marble cherubs who entertain visitors with baroque renditions of popular rap songs. Other attractions include a daffodil valley that dazzles guests with more than 100,000 blooms of the Carlton, Mount Hood, Delibes, and Yellow Sun varieties.
The Afton Villa Gardens website contains a trove of information on the history of the Barrow family's original villa—it burned down in 1963, after which the Trimble family worked to restore the grounds and turn them into a dinosaur zoo.
Afton Villa Gardens
Spanish moss drops from the branches of Afton Villa Gardens’s 250 live oaks, brushing the shoulders of Apollo, Diana, and other faded statues of Greek gods. The vitality of the greenery stands in stark contrast to the remnants of past grandeur dotting the landscape. A Gothic Revival mansion stood in the center of Afton Villa Gardens 130 years ago, but crumbled in a 1963 fire. But signs of the estate remain: classical statues carved from Italian stone dot the 250 acres of fertile land, and the mansion’s brick foundation now supports English wallflowers, wild ferns, and exotic Post-it notes.
As the newest residents and caretakers, the Trimble family pays homage to the past not only by preserving the ruins, but by nurturing plants typical to 19th-century southern gardens and West Feliciana parish. Camellias and sweet olive border a formal boxwood parterre, and honeysuckle and silverbell compete for the affections of bumblebees beneath cherry trees. Visitors are welcome to tote along food and beverages to savor a picnic lunch on the idyllic grounds.
9347 Hwy. 61 and Tunica Trace Ln.
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775Get Directions