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Garden Tour 2019
Private Gardens

Beyond the Garden Gate

The 2019 Garden Tour offered a wide variety of gardens, each with their own personality.  Several gardens were oriented around special mature trees and structures.  Some gardens were casual, surrounding small cottage style homes. Other gardens surrounded historic homes or shared space with chicken coops.  Visitors to the gardens discovered ponds with fish and frogs, and weed encouragement alongside cultivated plants that attracted a variety of pollinators.  All of the gardens were the result of owners who found challenge, peace and creativity in their efforts to develop beautiful spaces.   They welcomed the opportunity to share their gardening visions with more than 400 visitors during the 2019 Hillsborough Spring Garden Tour. 

Barking Frog Farm
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Established plant communities of traditional and native plants create a wildlife friendly garden habitat surrounding a playground and outdoor seating.  First Breath of Spring, bridal spirea, roses, fragrant mock orange, Korean viburnum, clematis, and tea olive scent the neighborhood.   A shaded frog pond hides under a pink tulip magnolia.  Garden management encourages weeds--milkweed, poke-weed, wild asparagus-- alongside treasured old-fashioned bulbs and perennials that attract pollinators and children.

Creekside Garden

This predominantly casual garden has evolved over the last 25 years to extend throughout the triangular shaped historic district lot.  It includes rambling ferns and hellebores along a shady creekside, a hidden stone grotto marking an old spring with plantings of boxwood, holly, peonies, and diverse perennials.


Evergreen Garden


When we first saw what would be our new home, we fell in love with the trees! Stately oaks, beech, magnolia, hollies, and camellias would provide the framework for our garden. Over the past fifteen years we have added more than 200 trees and shrubs to our property. We have planted Japanese maples, viburnums for screening, and unique trees like the monkey puzzle tree and meta-sequoias. These trees form the backdrop for many varieties of flowering shrubs, ornamental grasses, climbing vines, and flowers. Iris, peonies, and specimen hellebore bloom in different garden “rooms”. Tropical gardens of palms and ginger lilies found by the pool, a small pond with fish and water lilies, a courtyard garden and a newly planted knot garden are all accented by antique gates and urns, fountains and sculpture. We do not use herbicides, instead, pulling all weeds by hand. You may see weeds in the planting beds, as we can’t ever seem to pull them all!  But in return, our garden is filled with butterflies, bees and birds, and, on a magical summer evening, our majestic trees are filled with the twinkling of fireflies.

Hyacinth Farm

Moving from a Manhattan apartment to this Hillsborough home nestled on 22 acres three years ago, this couple transformed an old horse barn into a chicken coop for a heritage flock known for their beautifully colored eggs and hearty nature. The chickens wander from pasture to pasture, occasionally seeking safety from low flying hawks under hedges, camellias, and crepe myrtle, which are spread throughout the landscape. Gardening has been nurturing for the owner and fills her with peace. She has planted mostly perennials known for seasonal beauty to complete the garden. Each year is an opportunity to learn what the soil will accept and support. She experiments with both vegetables and flowers, and pulls what seems to be an endless variety of weeds, as pesticides cannot be used with the pasture fed chickens. Her husband is used when brute force is required. He cuts and trims trees, moves large rocks, and collects large piles of fallen branches. We hope that you will enjoy your visit.


Nash Hooper Garden

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The Nash-Hooper House is a National Historic Landmark, in honor of its original owner, Francis Nash, a Revolutionary War general, and its later owner, William Hooper, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the only North Carolina signer whose home still stands. The property spans 2 ½ acres in downtown Hillsborough with informal gardens on each side of the property. The front yard has an arc of mature English boxwood; red Japanese maples line the west side driveway that leads to a kitchen garden with herbs and flowers. The backyard features a grapevine-covered gazebo, magnolias among the many trees, and a woodland walk. The east side is home to a 200 year old pecan with shade plants beneath, next to a brick patio. Visitors will see many old trees and shrubs and newer plantings by the owners.

A Pollinator Oasis

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A 1-acre backyard dedicated to the nurturing of all pollinators awaits you Beyond the Garden Gate on Revere Road.  Established in 2016, this garden was created in response to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators across America).  Currently, the garden boasts over 50 types of pollinator plants that provide nourishment for pollinators throughout the year.  Incorporated into the garden is a dry river bed that controls the flow of water from neighboring runoff and from underground downspouts.  Purple water iris can be found blooming in the river bed by mid-May.In the spring of 2018, a second pollinator habitat was installed that surrounds the raised-bed vegetable garden.  An additional south facing planting bed was also added for spring poppies and summer blooming sun flowers.  While the yard is predominately sun, a recent shade garden was added for interest under evergreen trees on the west side of the house.  Benches are situated throughout the yard to provide viewing enjoyment. Future plans for the garden include expansion of the existing river bed, installation of pollinator plants along the river bed and the incorporation of a garden bridge.

The Snug: Small Garden Tucked Away

We bought 2 newly renovated mill houses on an empty lot 3.5 years ago.  There was no garden, only a big gravel patch and 2 trees (which came down!)  With the exception of the professionally installed fence, we have designed, planned, and planted the garden.  We added the lawn, the kitchen garden, pergola, and other features ourselves.  Thanks to many friends for sharing plants, some we brought along with us from a former garden, and mark downs at garden centers, we have made a big impact garden on a small budget.  With distinct areas, including a shed, pizza oven and grills, a private hot tub area, and entertaining space, our back yard (measuring approx. 8000 sq. feet) is the place we most enjoy spending time.

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Stonehouse Garden

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This garden has evolved over thirty years without any long term plan except the desire to have and grow one of everything!   It has changed to reflect my evolution as a gardener learning what works and what doesn’t work, editing to make things easier, siting, and working in other gardens (especially Montrose!).  Lots of moving, mulching, feeding, and some shrubs have moved three or four times until I found the perfect spot. The garden is built around a stone house and very special trees that were waiting here when I married and moved into the house. Some of the trees are:  a huge meta-sequoia (Dawn Redwood) and its neighbor, a bald cypress, a massive old oak and a large and elegant Japanese maple that has to be more than 50 years old.  In addition, the garden has venerable nandinas, a gnarly redbud, crepe myrtles, acubas, yews and hollies. Over the years, I’ve added other favorite features, such as a gardening room for storing tools and potting plants; a path and goldfish pond, plus color and texture from things I love.  For example: abelias, deciduous azaleas, native honeysuckles, and climbing roses.  Things are always changing with a special emphasis on attracting birds.

Sunny Corners

My garden is traditional in the sense that the beds are designed to soften the edges of the property. Corners of the yard are planted with flowering trees and shrubs.  Perennials are planted along borders for additional texture and color. When I first purchased the house in 2009, the house had nothing but abelia shrubs planted around the foundation and a Bradford Pear in the front yard. I worked each season to replace the foundation plantings and add varying heights and textures throughout the yard.  Most of the garden is in full sun exposure, so I select plants that flourish in light.  I primarily use native plants with broad leaves and select species with white and pink blooms. I have used a few non-native plants like the kwanzan cherry trees and climbing roses because they bring me joy.  I love partnering plants with deep green leaves adjacent to plants with purple tones.  I have recently expanded the garden with a pollinator-friendly garden on the east side of the yard. Many of these plants were purchased at the Hillsborough Garden Club annual sale. I do not use any chemicals in my yard and make my own compost from kitchen waste to add nutrients to the soil.  I am gentle with pruning preferring that the plants take on natural forms.  I also try to repeat themes through the yard, drawing on my experience over the past 10 years, learning which plants thrive here. The garden is most spectacular in early spring, but I am working to add plants that flower in summer and fall to extend the bloom time for pollinators.

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