It may be difficult to find any worthwhile color in the garden this time of the year, but for some areas plants do thrive in a workable environment. In Carthage, for example, stands an 1892 authentic Victorian structure that has been renovated into a bed-and-breakfast with a landscape that stands second to none.
The Old Buggy Inn stands at 901 McReynolds St. at the entrance to Carthage's beautiful historic district and boasts a landscape indicative of the Victorian era.
The Victorian era was one of romance, robustness, and roses.
"That was a very special time in the lives of many people," says Patricia Motz-Frazier.
A California native, Frazier's desire was to find a place in North Carolina and, after viewing more than 27 properties, she decided on the Old Buggy Inn.
Aside from the magnificent interior, Frazier has spent many hours working on a landscape that is indicative of the Victorian era of cleanliness and manicured magnetism that will draw onlookers as well as passers-by to this architectural beauty.
"I have tried to capture a time," says Frazier, "when folks enjoyed the outside of a place that drew them closer to nature."
A wrap-around porch overlooks the half-circled paved brick entrance that borders the inner trail of a potpourri in plants and shrubbery that are evident while strolling around the landscape. Frazier is eager to share the variety of plants and shrubbery to anyone who wishes to walk around the premises.
"We have a beautiful butterfly bush," she says, "as well as special crape myrtles. Lily-of-the-valley, irises and hyacinths are all evident, when the weather changes."
Frazier's future plan is to turn a portion of the circle into a rose garden in the front of the building.
"It is so appropriate to grow roses, because that flower reminds everyone of a Victorian age and they're so beautiful," she says.
Ivy, rhododendron and azaleas are plentiful at the side of the garden.
"We even have violets in spring," she says, "something that surprised me since I have never grown violets before."
Ivy dots the landscape throughout the property. And fescue appears in various places for added dimension. Even a clump of lamb's ear appears comfortable inside the proposed perennial garden.
"We have such a diversified amount of plants here and they all grow so beautifully," she says. "It fits with the era of Queen Anne."
In the back directly opposite the kitchen, Frazier plans to plant an herb kitchen garden "so I can use fresh herbs directly from the garden when I cook meals for my guests," she says. "Everyone loves the taste and smell of fresh dill and fennel and, of course, rosemary."
Next to the proposed herb garden the landscape slopes down into a small fishpond.
"We're going to enlarge the pond so everyone can enjoy the peaceful environment," she says.
She points to the birds sitting on a gazebo which is set about 50 feet from the pond.
"It's another world out here," she says.
Frazier is proud of the gardenia on the landscape.
"When it blooms, you can smell the fragrance as you come out from the kitchen door in the back," she says. "And I love the false bamboo with red berries. It grows upright and the birds are delighted with the feast every day."
A swimming pool is bordered with blooming pampas grass on three sides. A miscanthus sits in the middle of the back fence boasting its green and bushy appearance.
Showy red blooms dangling from tall camellia shrubs are in bloom at the side of the house.
"We also have a pomegranate tree," says Frazier. "Now, that reminds me of history. Pomegranates were very popular during that time period."
Several azaleas and hollies line the property.
"Some crapes appear barren and look like beautiful birch tree trunks, while others are beginning to bud. The weather has been so strange," says Frazier, "I don't think the greenery knows what to do."
Frazier's goal is to produce gardens that resemble an English cottage garden.
"That would be the best way to authenticate the era," she says. "And what could be better than to drive or walk along an historic road and feel as though you're in a part of history that was once filled with romance and roses?"
Anita Stone is a Raleigh freelance writer. She may be reached at writer7136@ yahoo.com
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