Cows & Gardens Equals Whimsical Inspiration
The mascot of the village are the Belted Galloway cows, affectionately called Oreo cows. Their curly coats are just begging to be touched.
Belties are beef cattle native to Scotland. Six cows were brought from Virgina to Fearrington in the 1980s. There are now more than 30 cows grazing at the farm to "greet" village guests. When we visited there was much more eating than greeting. In fact, I couldn't get them to look up at the camera at all. And they wouldn't wander close enough to the fence for my fingers to touch those curls. Maybe they have a little Scottish in them after all.
Fearrington Village is a community (with 2,000 residents according to their website) modeled after English hamlets where people would gather at the village center, do some shopping and lunch with friends while enjoying the surrounding gardens. The complex offers several eateries, a (5 diamond) inn, spa and shops including an independent bookshop and a gift store with whimsical accessories for the home and garden.
The former barn has been converted to a wedding venue which was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. My youngest sister had a country wedding in an old barn so these type of venues always bring back special memories for me.
It looked like there had been a wedding the day before since there were these gorgeous arrangements lining the walkways. Just dreamy!
As we approached the barn we saw barn swallows busily flying in and out of the entrance. And, they weren't deterred by the visitors. They went about their business flying in and out of the barn searching for food. Makes you wonder how a nervous bride would feel with birds darting in and out while the bride and groom exchange their vows. No pooping on the head allowed!
The swallows were busy feeding their very hungry babies. Nests filled every nook and cranny of the barn roof. I was amazed how many nests there were.
As we continued our walk around the village I was so impressed with the English style gardens. The plants were chosen with pollinators in mind and include the full spectrum of annuals, bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees.
The 70 square foot white garden is the most formally designed garden on the grounds and is another wedding venue at the village. The focus of the garden is all things white and is filled with fragrant perennials and bulbs including white lantana, moonvine, zinnia, iris and gladiola.
The symmetrical beds are anchored by this whimsical fountain which provides some fluidity to the formal setting.
Sod walkways soften the look and divide the beds. A white 3-sided pergola encloses the garden with the inn sitting at the top of the square.
Inspiration can be found throughout the village like this brilliant use of a whiskey barrel.
Isn't this clever! I love the rustic look of whiskey barrels and they are large enough to house a lot of hose.
Whimsical touches are everywhere...Be sure to look up
The two plants that impressed me the most was this this passion vine and some thistle, yes that right, thistle. The passion vine was full of their exotic blooms. A little garden envy...mine isn't this big or full of blooms. My caterpillars eat it to the ground before it even gets close. Maybe this is what it will look like in 10 years.
This thistle was huge! A good 6 feet tall.
I was very curious about this thistle because it was planted intentionally and that isn't something you see everyday. I emailed Fearrington Village upon my return to Georgia and they promptly replied that this is Cardoon Thistle (Cynara cardunculus) often referred to as artichoke thistle. Apparently the unopened blooms can be eaten much like an artichoke.
These blooms where difficult to photograph. To get a good shot I really needed to stand on a ladder so this is the best I could get. Cardoon is a member of the Asteraceae (aster) family and is native to the Mediterranean. The bees were all over them. They would look beautiful in a dried flower arrangement, don't you think?
When traveling it is always a joy to come upon beautiful gardens and bring some inspiration home to mine. I found lots of it here and will certainly go back to explore more on my next visit to Chapel Hill.