Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library is one of thirteen historic gardens designated and maintained by The Garden Club of Virginia.  Each spring the grounds are on tour for Historic Garden Week for all to enjoy.  The original property did not have a garden, but rather outbuildings, functional plantings, and served as grazing land for the family sheep.  The gardens were designed after President Wilson’s widow provided funding to begin the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

The gardens at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library have evolved in four phases. The first gardens, designed in 1933 by Richmond landscape architect Charles F. Gillette was done as a project by The Garden Club of Virginia.  The Victorian restoration, suitable to the 1846 construction date of the house, the gardens included two terraces, the lower one featuring boxwood-lined bowknot beds, the only bowknot garden that Gillette created.  To further highlight the features of the gardens, a brick terrace and pathways, designed by landscape architect Ralph E. Griswold were erected in 1967-68.

The second phase of the garden took place in 1990, with the Rudy J. Favretti addition of a forecourt and lawn around the new Woodrow Wilson Museum and added garden walkways connecting the Museum and the rest of the grounds.

The third phase occurred in 2008, as the Garden Club of Virginia brought new life back to the garden by rebuilding perimeter fencing, planting new boxwoods, lilacs, hostas and perennials.

Unfortunately, in 2015, the Boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola) disease destroyed the boxwoods in the lower garden. The disease was first identified in Virginia in 2011, and by 2013, several properties around the Commonwealth were infected with the fungus. Symptoms of the disease include brown leaf spots that lead to defoliation and black streaking on boxwood stem tissue. The boxwoods were removed in fall 2016, and plans for a new design of the garden are currently ongoing.


The gardens are open to the public from dawn until dusk. Visitors do not need admission tickets to tour the gardens.


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation