Sunday, May 30, 2010

Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo on Roanoke Island

The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo on Roanoke Island were beautiful. What a hidden jewel.

Entrance and Great Gate
The impressive entrance wall of old, handmade Silas Lucas bricks holds the beautiful wrought iron gates which once hung at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Coat of Arms of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England is over the entrance door. The motto, “Honi soit qui mal y pense”, meaning 'shame be to him who evil thinks' is the basis for the Order of the Garter.
A large bronze plaque embedded in the entrance wall bears this inscription by Inglis Fletcher, a noted author:
    “Down the centuries, English women have built gardens, to the glory of God, the beauty of the countryside and the comfort of their souls. The women of The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. have planted this garden in memory of the valiant men and women who founded the first English colony in America. From this hallowed ground on Roanoke Island, they walked away through the dark forest and into history. 1985-1951/1585”

The lovely Gatehouse is designed in the style of a 16th century orangery with a flagstone floor, hand-hewn beams and a wide door with a cross design. The Gatehouse is furnished with rare antique tables, chests and desks. Perhaps the finest is the Jacobean table with typical Tudor rose carvings, circa early 1500s. The walls are adorned with many antique paintings, engravings and maps. Of special interest is a sixteenth century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.
The Gatehouse Reception Center doubles as the Gift Shop, which is filled year-round with a wide variety of garden related gifts. The carved carrara marble fountain has a center pineapple motif that is a symbol of wealth and welcome.
Entrance to the gardens. 

  Hot colors in containers


Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)- with a face?

Ancient Live Oak believed to be over 400 years old. This magnificent towering live oak tree is believed to have been growing on Roanoke Island when the first English colonists landed on the island in 1585.

  The world's largest bronze statue of HRH queen Elizabeth I.
This magnificent bronze statue is a gift from Irwin Belk in honor of his wife Carol.
Created by sculptor Jon Hair and modeled by renowned actress Miss Barbara Hird, this nine-foot beauty is the largest bronze of Queen Elizabeth I in the world. 

A marble statue of Virginia Dare carved in Italy by Maria Louisa Lander.
Virginia Dare Statue
This graceful statue is the artist’s version of an adult Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World.
Sculpted of Carrara marble in Italy by American sculptor, Maria Louisa Lander in 1859, the statue spent two years at the bottom of the sea following a shipwreck off the coast of Spain. The statue was salvaged and shipped to Boston, where it survived a fire.
In 1923, Miss Lander willed the statue to the State of North Carolina, where it was displayed in several buildings but was eventually sent to the basement of the old Supreme Court Building as some found her lack of clothing objectionable.
When The Lost Colony drama was written by Paul Green, the statue was sent to the waterside theatre. In the meantime, Fort Raleigh became a National Historic Site. Again, she fell out of favor. The statue was shipped to Paul Green’s estate near Chapel Hill.
When The Elizabethan Gardens were created, Mr. Green sent the statue to its present site, almost a hundred years after her creation.
Today, Virginia Dare stands at the place of her birth gazing toward the future despite the odds of the history, mystery and fantasy that surround her.

The Sunken Garden

The sunken garden with an antique Italian fountain as its central focal point. 
Inside the pleached allee, a low pierced wall of old, handmade brick surrounds this garden, which is the centerpiece of The Elizabethan Gardens.
This square area consists of 32 parterres outlined in clipped dwarf yaupon that are planted with seasonal flowers.
The central focal point is the antique Italian fountain and pool with a carved balustrade. Statues representing Apollo, Diana, Venus and Jupiter center each of the four quadrants of parterres. This exceptionally fine fountain and its statues are from the Whitney collection.
 Jupiter - Ruler of all gods

Apollo God of Music and Poetry

Venus Goddess of Spring & Bloom

Diana Goddess of the hunt

Hidden treasurers in the woodland garden - mostly gnomes
Woodland & Wildlife/Children's Garden
This mini garden is a delight for children as they try to find the gnomes and other figures hiding among the native plants and other shade-loving shrubs and trees.
Features include a small frog pond, Pan statue, and the lovely Bashful Girl fountain donated by the Youth Gardeners of North Carolina.



Rhododendron Walk
While all azaleas are considered rhododendron, not all rhododendron are azaleas.
With that said, visitors can enjoy all of the above as they stroll down the Rhododendron Walk. The mixed planting provides visitors with blooms from April until frost.
Visitors will also see several cultivars of the new Encore Azaleas, a unique group of azaleas that bloom in the spring and then again in the fall.

ME relaxing in the rose garden

Queen’s Tea Garden
This pierced wall rose garden was built in 1976 in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. Access to the rose garden is through handsome brick piers, a walkway is centered with a 500 year-old sun dial from the Whitney collection. The handmade brick pathway continues to a brick “throne” area reached by three broad steps guarded by antique marble lion sculptures and is topped with an antique hand-carved white Carrara marble bench that is canopied by white dogwoods.
The Tea Garden features the Queen Elizabeth Rose that was given to The Elizabethan Gardens by Queen Elizabeth II from the royal rose garden at Windsor Castle. The Queen’s Tea Garden was dedicated in honor of Queen Elizabeth II by her emissary, British Ambassador, Sir Peter Ramsbotham.
The rose collection includes the Virginia Dare Rose, the Lost Colony Rose and the Sir Walter Raleigh Rose.

The history of the gardens is just as fascinating: 
History, mystery and fantasy are combined in these special gardens, which are a memorial to the first English colonists who came to North America in 1584-1587 and “walked away through the dark forest into history” as memorialized in Paul Green’s symphonic drama, “The Lost Colony”. For here and nowhere else, Sir Walter Raleigh made initial attempts to colonize the New World under Queen Elizabeth I. Truly this hallowed site is the birthplace of America.

The Garden Club of North Carolina adopted The Elizabethan Gardens as a project in 1951. In 1953 land was leased from The Roanoke Island Historical Association to begin building an English Pleasure Garden. In 1952 The Honorable John Hay Whitney donated an  outstanding collection of European statuary and garden ornaments to the project. In 1953 the internationally acclaimed landscape firm of Innocenti and Webel were commissioned to design The Elizabethan Gardens.

From the beginning, garden club members have worked tirelessly to fund and assist in the development of these fine gardens. The Elizabethan Gardens were formally opened on Virginia Dare’s birthday, August 18, 1960.

Worth the trip.

** Searching for Virginia Dare




A Kingdom Strange by James Horn  

Our May OBX Beach trip

What a relaxing and beautiful week. Time to rejuvenate the soul.
 Sunrise in Kitty Hawk 2010
My 2 urns I created with supplies from Walmart and Home Depot to add some color to the weathered deck. 
The new higher deck chairs allowed us a great view of the deafening surf, beautiful blue sky and ever present dolphins.
  Pelicans flying over the waves.
Joe Lamb and WPM have most of the reasonably priced oceanfront cottages. And yes, we fixed that crooked W once we noticed it!

Sara Belle and Mew resting

Our Mimi and Little guy look-alikes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pinks and purples

Clematis in bloom.

and white.
Lily of the valley or Convallaria majalis
Iris of every color. Here are a few.

More iris...
Baptisia or blue wild false indigo and the fountain.
Cranesbill, the perennial Geranium incanum (?)
Roses are happy, the first Abraham Darby pink bloom of the year. What a fragrance!
The knockout rose has exploded in pink color.
May is bringing on the flowers!