There are many photographs that depict the beauty of the landscape during the winter season. Inevitably they show snow -- snow banks, snow hills and snowed-in homes with that white stuff all over the place.
But in this neck of the woods, snow is not necessary to have a beautiful wintry landscape. As a matter of fact, it's not always what you do see in a landscape, but rather the hidden features that make a place you call home inviting, lovely and a bit intriguing.
Just ask Kay Boggs of Carthage who owns The Dogpatch in Carthage on U.S.15-501.
"I have kept up with this farm and house for more than 25 years," she says, "and it's been a lot of hard work, but well worth the time."
Not only is this 50-acre landscape one of the best-kept secrets in Moore County, but one of the most colorful and showy places regardless of the season.
"Originally, this was one of four farms at the turn of the century," says Boggs. "My grandfather purchased the land for $800. He was a tobacco farmer."
Boggs speaks proudly of the landscape.
"There's a lot of color here," she says.
"My father and mother were also farmers," says Boggs. "After they gave up tobacco farming, we had Angus cows. We raised a bull as a pet and keep him as a stud. Once you name an animal, you can't easily slaughter it."
Manicured trees and holly shrub that are trained to grow vertically offer a delightful amount of berries to winged visitors, along with other bird feeders placed around the yard with other ornamental yard decorations such as iron dragonflies and flamingoes. Several maples, both large and miniature, dot the landscape with several types of trees, including pine, mimosa, cypress and elm.
The farmhouse is topped with a tin roof and the house is set on concrete slab, "originally built by my grandfather," says Boggs.
Pyracantha climbs and sprawls across gates and trellises located on the property. And there is a large number of concrete bulldogs everywhere.
"I love English bulldogs," says Boggs. "I used to show them. Now I own eight and they have their own kennels, even television to keep them comfortable and happy."
At the rear side of the house a visitor will find a swimming pool and a fence that protects the area from intruders. A cascading rock waterfall flows from the top of a corner and flows directly into the swimming pool. Around the inside perimeter are large urns filled with plants and shrubs to give the appearance of a horticultural veranda. Some of the privets and holly are shaped like umbrellas.
On a porch, wicker chairs fill the space and a stuffed teddy bear occupies each chair with topiaries surrounding certain areas.
"This is a big place to keep up with," says Boggs. "We have a handyman and helpers to take care of the yard.
"Behind the house we have an area with many trees and hollies that we lease to another family. The Dowds grow shrubbery from seedlings and tend to the trees. We grow beautiful trees, lots of them, including crape myrtles."
The Boggs family added 2,500 square feet to the house.
"I love taking care of everything," says Boggs. "It's really my therapy to get your hands in the dirt. I just believe that if you can get your hands dirty, you'll be a whole lot better."
Large boulders are scattered about to give a natural effect across the front yard. This lively eclectic landscape fills the imagination with visual beauty; one wants only to return to see many parts of the landscape which were unseen at one visit. And any visitors will appreciate the value of horticulture when combined with the aesthetic value of farmland.
Who will follow in Boggs' footsteps?
"This is the original farm, and I am the last generation," she says. " I have no children, so I'll sell it before I retire. My father would have wanted me to do that."
Anita Stone is a Raleigh freelance writer. She may be reached at writer7136@yahoo. com.
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