When a gardener goes to the Outer Banks

When a gardener goes to the Outer Banks of North Carolina,

She chooses a route that will take her through Charlotte, North Carolina.

In Charlotte, she fulfils a long-time dream to see the gardens of Elizabeth Lawrence.

It's just down the street from Wing Haven, so she of course checks those gardens out, too.

Finally, she makes it to the Outer Banks and the first thing she does is go back across the bridge to check out the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, North Carolina.

There she finds that hydrangea flowers are blue instead of the pink she usually sees around her own garden.

The next day she goes up the coast to Corolla, North Carolina to see the sights and finds a lovely wildflower garden in Currituck.

In that garden, she sees a plant that has more bees on it than she has ever seen in her entire gardening life.

On another day, she visits the North Carolina Aquariums to seek some relief from the heat and sees a nice martin house on display. It reminds her that she wants one of these in her garden.

Once inside the aquarium, she sees lots of fish, but is pleased that some of the displays include lots of plants.

Of course, she looks in the travel guides for "garden centers" and finds one in Kitty Hawk to visit.

Before her vacation ends, she drives south to Cape Hatteras to climb up to the top of the lighthouse. Halfway up she sees a sign that she thinks is a good reminder for times when she is out in the garden. "Please pace yourself".

Once she is at the top of the lighthouse, she decides that the view was worth the climb, just like the garden is worth the effort.

The whole week she is vacationing at the Outer Banks, she sees many plants that she doesn't know the names of, but does recognize Gaillardia growing where it is very dry and sandy and makes a note that perhaps she should grow these in her droughty garden.

Finally, when a gardener goes to the Outer Banks, she looks to the east and north across the ocean and wonders if that is where the next place is that she should go to see gardens.
She thinks perhaps it is.


  1. You had a very garden filled vacation! It sounds lovely.

  2. I loved this Carol. I also went to those Elizabethan gardens there. Wonderful place, but I loved the wildflowers best.~~Dee

  3. Wow if you take that much of a detour to visit the gardens of Elizabeth Lawrence, they must be awesome. I've never heard of this garden and I live 30 minutes from Charlotte. I definitely have to go and visit now.. thanks for sharing!

  4. I am so glad that the Elizabethan Gardens are still there in Manteo, and the hydrangeas are still blooming like gangbusters. What a delightful, shady, restful spot. Gaillardias are a fine example of drought proof plants, too.

  5. I agree that you should cross the ocean to see some gardens ... I'll come with you!

  6. Great post, Carol! It resonates with me, as I feel I would do exactly the same. I'm glad you had a great trip!

  7. My husband and I rarely travel, and the last time we did was in 2007. I had been longing to see the ocean, and the Outer Banks is where we went. Our route was based on seeing the area of Kentucky where Larry's grandpa lived as a boy, and going to Mt. Airy, Andy Griffith's home town.

    We didn't make it to the Elizabethan Garden or go as far north as where the wildflower garden was, but we were in Beaufort the weekend of their old homes and gardens tour. We had lots of fun that day.

    I enjoyed the account of your trip.

    In case you didn't know, the plant with all the bees on it is short toothed mountain mint.

  8. What a fun visit! North Carolina has so much to offer and really is a beautiful state. My sister just moved to Chapel Hill and I am looking forward to being able to spend more time there and explore NC. I will have to check out the Elizabethan Garden. Thanks for sharing your trip.

  9. It sounds like you had a marvelous vacation! The Outer Banks is on my list of ocean spots to see. Loved seeing the gardens and Blanket Flower by the sea. It's happy in my garden this summer, too. It's fun to stop at the local garden centers; you never know what you'll find. gail

  10. Heidi/ IN Woodland GardenerSun Aug 05, 01:46:00 PM 2012

    I love this Gardening version of the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" series of children's books!!!! Very creative!
    Your photos are lovely and inspiring!

  11. Sounds like a great trip. I've visited my brother while he was living in both North Carolina and Georgia, and there are certainly many beautiful gardens with plants unfamiliar to midwestern eyes. Of course, he lives in Minnesota now, so I haven't been down there in a while.

  12. Ilove all your pics!

  13. Hey Carol. Isn't the plant with all the bees one of the mountain mints, Pycnanthemum sp.? It was gorgeous in my garden last year, but is all flopped over this year. Too much rain and shade, I guess. I'll put a link to see if it's the plant you saw. Hope it works.

  14. So hard to leave your garden in Summer, isnt it? But the Outer Banks must be blissful!

  15. Here's another garden you may have missed.... the Outer Banks Arboretum and Teaching Garden in Kill Devil Hills, NC. The gardens contain many native plants & lots of shaded paths. The gardens were created & are maintained by the Master Gardeners of Dare County. Your visit is free of charge & it's a lovely stroll, especially if you have your dog with you and need a nice cool, shaded place to walk (dogs allowed on a leash, of course). I'm not a part of this talented group, but I have attended several of their workshops & as a relatively new transplant, I hope to attend a few more.


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