In Print – Elizabethan gardens delight visitors

Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare

Metro Magazine

Here’s the originial copy:

The Elizabethan Gardens

By Helen Yoest

The Elizabethan Gardens is a unique American garden, with a definite nod to 16th century England.  Built on the site of the first English colony in the New World and staying authentic of the era, these gardens offer a wide appeal.

Horticulturists, nature lovers, history buffs, and culture seekers find their way to this historic site on the Roanoke Sound in Manteo, North Carolina.

Nestled under a canopy of Southern Magnolias, pines, dogwoods and ancient live oak trees, the garden was originally funded more than 50 years ago by the Garden Club of North Carolina and designed and built by M. Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel.

A visit to The Elizabethan Gardens is very much like touring a great English estate.  Ten acres of gardens are designed with a mixture of both formal and naturalized areas.

The formal areas include an entrance garden designed with desirable parterres of clipped boxwood and filled with annuals to reflect the seasons.  The Shakespeare’s Herb Garden is filled with culinary, medicinal and sweet smelling herbs.

Of particular interest is the Sunken Gardens with a magnificent antique fountain donated by The Late Honorable John Hay Whitney, former Ambassador to the Courts of St. James and Mrs. Whitney.

The fountain dictated the design of a formal parterre pattern of clipped boxwood and yaupon hollies.  Surrounding the fountain is a circle of eight Crepe Myrtles.  Each year, the trees are pollarded to maintain their size.  In doing so, the ends of each branch form gnarled orbs that have become individual works of art.  During the summer, their watermelon-colored flowers are simply striking.

The naturalized areas have you trod on ground softened by fallen leaves and pine needles with walls of azaleas and camellias.

A summer stroll will reveal many different types of hydrangeas.  Climbing hydrangeas grace the Gatehouse wall in the Courtyard.  The sweet scent wafts the area making it difficult to venture on.  Linger long enough to satisfy, but then be ready for the sight of lacecap and mophead hydrangea blooms beckoning you in blue.  Naturally pink cultivars also abound along with Oak leaf hydrangeas with their white blooms fading to a rosy pink.

Lining the Great Lawn are daylilies offering several weeks of great color and delight.  Perennial sunflowers, rain lilies, Stokes Asters, Gardenias, and coneflowers will also welcome you, as well as, the wildlife.

The natural paths will lead you to the octagonal shaped Gazebo.  Built to period specifications with a thatched roof over looking the Roanoke sound, it is also sighted at the perfect moment to rest.

As you journey back, you will meet Virginia Dare, or at least the artist’s rendition of the first child born to the new world, if she had lived.  Sculpted in Italy by American sculptor, Maria Louis Lander, in 1859, the statue stands at the place of the child’s’ birth, now a young woman looking towards the future.

Sidebar

The Elizabethan Gardens

Open year-round seven days a week

Closing times vary with season

1411 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954

(252) 473-3234

www.eliabethangardens.org

Self guided tour open 7 days a week year round

Be sure to visit the Gatehouse Gift shop offering unique items and plants propagated in greenhouses located on the gardens grounds.

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2 Comments »

  1. Les said

    Nice article! Funny thing is I have never been here in spite of it being practically in the back yard and having had many trips to Manteo.

  2. It took me the longest time as well. The sunken garden is awesome. Makes you want to put Crepe Mrytles in the position to murder…in their case well done pollarding. But as you may know, I have a thing for patterned gardens. Look for my e-mail of coming to see your garden!

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