One of my favorite places that we visited during our week at the Outer Banks were the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. On Thursday, we awoke to a rainy day at the beach. Mom decided to go take Harry to a movie. David, Melissa, Phoebe and I all decided we needed to do something to get out of the house and since I have been fascinated with the Lost Colony on Roanoke, we decided to take a gamble that the weather might be better there and headed out.
We were rewarded for our efforts. When we arrived at the gardens, it was overcast, but the rain held off.
It actually turned out to be a great day to explore the gardens, as the weather kept other people at bay. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.
It was nice because the gardens were open to well-behaved dogs on leashes. The well-behaved part might have excluded Knightley, but they let him in anyway.
Apparently, the statute below is the largest statute of Elizabeth the First in the world. I find this statistic a little hard to believe.
Elizabeth the Second also left her mark on the gardens. Apparently, she sent some roses for the rose garden from her own rose garden at Windsor Castle.
When the rose that the current Queen sent is in bloom it looks like this:
I don’t know why it is the both of England’s best monarchs were named Elizabeth, but that is just the way it is.
The gardens bearing their name served as a delightful backdrop for taking lots of photos.
One of our favorite parts of the garden was the forest walk that had lots of friendly gnomes to meet. We were sure Harry would have liked this part too.
The gardens had many beautiful trees. This oak tree is so old it is believed to have been standing when those Roanoke colonists arrived on the island.
But, let’s be honest. That tree is where the similarities begin and end when it comes to these gardens and what life was like for those early settlers. They didn’t have time to tend elaborate gardens, the were staving off diseases and run-ins with native populations. The colony failed and it didn’t bring Sir Walter Raleigh the acclaim that he so desired. If anyone survived, they moved to another part of the Outer Banks, possibly to live with a friendly native community. It is tough to say and they are still trying to uncover what happened. I like a good historical mystery.
I guess it makes sense to honor a queen in whose name the original colony was created. The gardens are so much prettier than the reality, though.