September 24, 2023

The Elizabethan Gardens

The URL is for sale. Just comment on this post if interested.

Did you know the honey bee is the state insect of North Carolina?

If you're ever in coastal North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. Their website says the crepe myrtles bloom for 101 days out of the year, so we caught them on, oh, Day 90? The dark pink and red ones seem to be the ones that bloom this late in the year. Even though not in full bloom, the grounds are really unique, with pops of color and lots of interesting things to see.

Visitors enter the garden through the Gate House.
The Gate House is also a gift shop with a collection of "inspired by nature" pottery by a local artist, Amy Gentry. She must be a 'keeper because all her pieces were bee-themed.

Let it Bee tee, $32
There are also things not-for-sale, like the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, oil on panel, circa 1592. Seems like a 431-year-old painting should be in a museum, but you'll find it along with other period antiquities in the gate house.
Small skep candles, $8

Tea lights, $5

Dedicated area for Plant Sales

Though they sell native and pollinator plants, I didn't find anything appropriate for my tiny home garden. Inside the greenhouses, I found some nice 'Tineke' rubber trees and String of Bananas succulents. 

String of Bananas is a good-for-beginners and travelers houseplant.

Bumble bee inside a 'Starry Night' swamp rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), a cold-hardy perennial wetland plant.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Pentas, which guarantee visits by butterflies and hummingbirds, too.
a foolproof way of attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, too.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing Penta Plants: How To Care For Pentas
a foolproof way of attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, too.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing Penta Plants: How To Care For Pentas

Marble sculpture of Virginia Dare (carved in 1859) in an old-growth forest of oaks, underplanted with impatiens.
In case you don't know who Virginia Dare is, born in 1587 she was the first child born in what would become the United States. The colony vanished mysteriously, and the statue is the artist's conception of what she might have looked like if she had grown up. She's wearing a fishing net, and the laces of an Indian princess around her neck and arms.
The Grandiflora is a result of crossing a Floribunda with a hybrid tea rose, and is often considered to be the most popular variety of rose. One of the first roses to be classified as a Grandiflora was the 'Queen Elizabeth' in 1954.

Construction of the Elizabethan Gardens began in 1953, on the date Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England. The Queen’s Rose Garden was dedicated in honor of HRH in 1976. In 1984, she recognized the historical significance of Roanoke Island on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of English explorers, and later gifted the Gardens a 'Queen Elizabeth' Grandiflora from the Royal Rose Gardens at Windsor Castle.

🤦🏼 What's wrong with this sign?
Fun Fact: The common eastern bumble bee is distinctive as the only bumble bee with a single yellow stripe at the top of its abdomen. The rest of the abdomen is completely black.
Statues center each of the four quadrants of parterres.
An ancient Italian fountain is the focal point of the Sunken Garden, which consists of 32 identical parterres. Clipped dwarf yaupon hollies surround an ever changing display of annual flowers, set low in the hedges to beg a closer look. There are cast and marble statues throughout the 10-acre garden.
An ancient oak, believed to have been living when the first Roanoke colonists arrived in 1585; butterfly house in the background.
April through September, the Gardens host butterfly releases, the $25 cost of which includes admission and a butterfly.
The wellhead has a water bubbler in it, but there are biting insects at the Gardens so it is good to bring insect repellent with you.

The Mount, centered with a carved Porphyry marble wellhead, serves as an axis from which four paths radiate out towards the Sunken Garden, Virginia Dare statue and main path of the Gardens.

Camellia oversees the plant sales.
Even with spending some time oceanside (hoping to spy a sea turtle like the one posted in a Google review), it took under two hours to explore the entire garden. I imagine it would take 3-4 if there were actually flowers to look at, and forget it if there were bees! Have you been? Where should we go next?


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