Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blooming Friday ~ Sisters' Garden


There is a garden in a neighborhood just across the street from UNC-Chapel Hill that I have admired for many years. The caretakers of this garden are twin sisters; one moved there with her husband in the 1940's, and when the husband of the resident sister became ill over 20 years ago the second sister moved there too. You can read more about the sisters here. They are now 94 years old.

I took these pictures when we visited this garden last April. Chapel Hill is about an hour away from our farm and we visit four or five times a year. I grew up near Chapel Hill, my dad is a professor at the university, and my husband and I went to college there so we have a lot of ties to Chapel Hill.

Isn't the house charming? It's so elegant and simple in its lines. Perhaps I haven't seen much architecture but I've never seen anything quite like it. Even the green shingle roof is perfect.



To me their garden is the quintessential Southern garden: *lots* of azaleas and camellias. It reminds me of a beautiful Charleston garden, except that it's roomier and backed by the expansive Battle Woods, which is owned by the university. On each side of the lawn are curvilinear beds planted with tulips (which are replanted every year), iris and perennials, which merges with a huge bank of azaleas at the sides and back of the house.




Isn't this a gorgeous azalea?

It reminds me of a cross between a freesia and an apple blossom.




At the back of the house the garden is beautiful too: a large tree underplanted with iris and tulips in the center, a huge bank of azaleas and camellias on the side (a continuation of the bank of azaleas that began in the front yard), and then a terraced garden with more iris, azaleas and perennials that slopes down to an alley that backs the property. I love alleys like those. They were also in the small town in Indiana that my grandparents lived in.

A row of azaleas at the bottom of the terrace.


Visitors then ascend a narrow stone staircase, beneath this beautiful camellia and azalea


to an amazing expanse of azaleas at the other side of the house.

A view from the front of the house.

And standing next to the sidewalk. So many tulips!

There are other gardens in the neighborhood as well; I think the neighbors have been inspired by the two sisters. :) I love this lavender-flowered azalea.

and the low stone walls that are surround the yards of many of houses and buildings in Chapel Hill.

Thank you to Katarina at roses and stuff for hosting Blooming Friday.

34 comments:

  1. I love all that pink. My daughter saw that house and said that it looked like a dollhouse. Beautiful!
    Rosey

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  2. I love their home and garden and I enjoyed the story of the sisters as well-they sound like an inspirational pair!
    Thank you for sharing,
    Carolyn

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  3. My oh my! breathtaking and remarkably beautiful!

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  4. I wish my garden was a beautiful. If I was ever in the market to buy a house-this would have to be it!

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  5. What a breath of spring! Lovely gardens and I look forward to reading the twin sister's story. You have a wonderful eye Sweetbay! Thank you for sharing this southern garden. It so reminds me of Atlanta in the spring.

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  6. ps... yes it is a charming house! In case I did not stress it enough . . . this is a gorgeous post!!! Dazzling! :>))

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  7. I love that house, and the gardens are just exquisite. Very "old south".

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  8. Thanks for this peek into spring, even if it was from the past. What wonderful garden and a cute house as well.

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  9. Hi Sweetbay~~ You must have had a lovely tour that day. The azaleas and tulips are just dazzling and I agree about the house's lines and architecture. The tall trees and dappled sunlight add the perfect touch. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful garden. The Azaleas and Tulips have me dreaming of spring, although no gardens near here are as pretty as this one. You just don't see as many big Azaleas around here like those. I love the house too!

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  11. The first photo just took my breath away. The darling house is framed perfectly by the flowering azaelas and camellias. Such a beautiful home and garden.

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  12. This is perhaps one of the prettiest North Carolina post I've ever seen. My mouth fell open at the tapestry of beauty. This is the kind of scene that kept playing in my heart and mind the whole time my husband had me away from NC during his military years.

    Miss Sweet Bay, you stole my heart with this post.

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  13. Truly breathtaking! And I fully agree, the house is a wonderful. and the garden...and your pictures, a lovely moment in a dark time! Thank you, and have a nice week end!

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  14. Just beautiful and it looks like you timed it perfectly to capture so many blooms! I love the long windows too. Perfect perfect!

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  15. It looks idyllic and the house blends so well with the garden. I really enjoyed looking at the pictures.

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  16. Wouldn't mind sitting on that porch enjoying the garden weiv in spring. Indeed a beautiful house, and the garden with all those colors, so well matches eash other. A really gorgeous sight.

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  17. My goodness, if that doesn't put you in the mood for spring--nothing will. If I lived there I would not garden. I would just sit in the midst of everyone else's beautiful gardens.

    Love that first house. Those windows are beautiful.
    Marnie

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  18. Such a beautiful home and beautiful flowers. The pictures are wonderful.

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  19. Oh, what a lovely garden and home. I can see why you're drawn to it. I would love to live here too. It's just perfectly kept and the grounds couldn't be any more appealing. I wonder what will happen when they aren't here to care for it? I hope someone purchases it that will take the same loving approach to it. Now I am more than ever ready for spring!

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  20. Simply a well planned and manicured garden..one can see that lots of love whent into the garden.It is as stunning in the colors used as Monet did with his in Giverny! I love all the strong pinks and lavenders in this garden..A joy to view!

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  21. Absolutely gorgeous! With a garden like this, I wouldn't care what the house looked like--I'd spend all my time just sitting outside and admiring the view. Are the sisters still gardening at 94? There's hope for me, then--I still have many years of gardening left!

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  22. Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Kathleen, I too, have wondered about the future of the garden. At least one of the daughters and some grandsons live nearby and perhaps a relative will move into the house and take over the garden eventually.

    Rose, as far as I know the sisters are still gardening, although in an interview one of them said that they leave the heavy lifting to one of the nephews. :) They also enlist the help of college students who like to be in the garden.

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  23. Absolutely gorgeous! These gardens really speak to the power of mass plantings. I just love the azaleas.

    Thanks for sharing these. I think I would be perfectly happy living in that charming white house.

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  24. Your post made me so happy - thanks so much for sharing! The house is beautiful and the garden divine! Just imagine living in a place like that...what a dream!
    Thanks again and enjoy your weekend!

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  25. I'm feeling dizzy from gazing at all the beauty in this post. It's just what I needed on this gray January morning. Wish I could sit on the inviting porch and enjoy the view when everything is in bloom.

    No wonder you're so smart. Your dad's a professor:)

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  26. What a stunning garden, do you think that they still do quite a bit of the garden?

    That house, those windows, sigh....total beauty. I can only hope that we find something like that one day.

    Thank you so much for such great shots, and beautiful commentary. Love it.

    Jen

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  27. Thank you, The Garden Ms. S, Katarina, Donna and Jen. I agree, the house and the garden are like a dream!

    Jen, I don't know how much the sisters are still able to do themselves... I know they get help with lifting and bulb planting. Dick Gordon interviewed them for his radio show The Story soon after it came on the air but unfortunately that interview is not in the archives. The sisters have always put the students who came to lounge in the garden to work. lol I first saw this garden in the summertime about 25 years ago, about the time that the second sister came to live there. They have always had talent for color that catches the eye. I remember beautiful bunches of Cleome in the back garden.

    The sisters grew up in Arizona, where they lovingly tended a Japanese Honeysuckle and watered it with buckets of dishwater. If I remember correctly they got their love of gardening from their dad. The sister who moved to Chapel Hill in the '40's said she was thrilled to see honeysuckle in the back yard when she arrived... and that she's been fighting it ever since. lol

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  28. This is an inspirational post!
    I am thinking about my gardens for 2010 and know I want lots and lots of bulbs....These tulips are so very pretty.
    Gorgeous gardens!
    Thank you for the smiles.
    Sherry

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  29. It's absolutely charming, Sweet Bay! The house is very elegant, I love those tall narrow windows. What a pleasure should be to walk around that place. The sisters did a great job! Thank you for this post!

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  30. Wow. That is about as close to my dream house as one could ever get! I LOVE those azaleas. Oh, how wonderful it would be to grow azaleas in my gardens. (They don't like my alkaline soil.)

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  31. OMGoodness! Spring can't come soon enough! Except I can only wish to have such beauty on my lone lot!

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  32. I'm at a loss for words!! First, thank you so much for commenting on my blog, Counting My Blessings
    Your photography is wonderful and so are these gardens!

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  33. It's a delightful garden! Oh to be there in the spring
    gail

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  34. For a minute I thought all this was blooming now! What a beautiful garden, and beautiful story of sisters. I'm glad I gave my daughters sisters.

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