2005 Apex Historical Society Garden Tour Sites                             Close Window

The first society garden tour offered seven homes in addition to the grounds of the Maynard-Pearson House in 2005 - gardens of Rosalyn and Bobby Cox, Diane and Allen Long, Helen and Lawrence Long, Rita and Denny Mercer, Deb and John Simmons, Marion and George Smith, and Lise and Joe Zublena..


Maynard-Pearson House
1101 Olive Chapel Road

The Maynard-Pearson House dates from approximately 1870 and serves as home to the Apex Historical Society. Landscaping of the grounds is maintained by members of the Society.


Rosalyn & Bobby Cox
1616 Hwy. 64 West, Apex

The goal for the Cox garden is for it to be a place of refuge for bids, squirrels, and any person who needs a place to relax. From an original 48-acre tract, the house, built in 1977, is near the family airstrip and pond. Rich masonry work provides a rich backdrop to the house, pool, and garden.

Inspired by her mother, Rosalyn loves the forsythia, virburnum, and bearded iris of traditional Southern gardens. She was able to transplant many plants from her mother’s home in Holly Springs, continuing the tradition of flowers inside and outside to give a house a “loving feeling.” Bobby, an inspired woodworker, built the gazebo and a waterafll in 1992. The Coxes work with nature to keep their landscaping a work in progress—Hurricane Fran “thinned out 12 trees” and a beaver removed two more. Taking nature’s help philosophically, Rosalyn said, “…each spring I look forward to see what will come up and then I enjoy shopping for something new to add.”

You are invited to come by to see what’s blooming that day, to sit in the gazebo and smell the roses.


Diane & Allen Long
Salem Church Road

The three-acre spread the Longs call home is a testament to Diane’s grandparents: To her grandmother who taught her the names of flowers, shrubs, and trees and to her grandfather who turned his wife’s hobby into a business after he retired. Diane treasures plants from his nursery and features them prominently in her garden.

Snow Bird, a rambling white rose, is a 100-year-old variety which blooms fullest at Mother’s Day.

Diane’s work at Duke Forest in Durham brings her in touch with many older people who loved their gardens; often they ask familiy members to bring a cutting or favorite small plant to share their passion with Diane. She points to these with pride and always gives a verbal snapshot of the giver.

Both Allen and Diane love working the land, and they always plant a large vegetable garden. They enjoy sharing their labors with friends and family, often in winter months from their freezer. Diane speaks of her hobby, “As I cultivate our
garden, I feel just a little closer to God—for all the beauty made on earth for us to enjoy and friends with whom we can


Rita & Denny Mercer
103 Beechtree Court

When Rita Mercer saw the house at the top of a hill surrounded by tall trees, she was drawn to it with an urgency to have a beautiful yard. As a result of her insatiable interest in plants, she became a self-taught horticulturist and passionate gardener.

Now her gardens are resplendent with many different plants that have adapted beautifully to the conditions of the
garden. Stone paths and terraces were installed to enhance the natural feel of the gardens. Mulched paths lead into the
woodland garden and to the house. In the shade, wildflowers and shrubs bloom in the spring. Distinctive foliage plants are
abundant there when flowering plants become scarce. The path continues through the shaded backyard garden to the sunny Hangar Garden which has become a haven for butterflies, hummingbirds, and Denny’s pilot friends.

Rita’s garden contains everything from passalong plants, like Crinum lilies, to rare and unique weeping specimen trees.
Small groundcovers abound under massive oak trees. A pallet of soft pastel flowering plants are used in the front garden, while hot colors dominate the sunny Hanger Garden. The landscape has become so much more than envisioned—it is, in fact, a continuing work of art..


Marion & George Smith
118 Tunstall Street

If Apex ever had a secret garden, this is it! Nestled compactly behind the house with a manicured front yard is a scene straight from a fairy tale. A stone-surrounded water garden is the focal point of the area, with a tiny stone bridge marking the pathway.

The tone of the garden is a look at times past — the faux well serving as a planter recalls childhood stories of princesses and frogs. The narrow deck, where Marion sits to enjoy her garden, looks directly over the pond to the lush greenery in the background.

Where the house extends beyond the deck, an antique door salvaged from George’s uncle’s house is mounted as a portal to another vista. Just left of the door is the garden shed faced by a wonderful swing, complete with awning.

Every available inch of space is filled with wonderful plants and found objects—even an old work shoe. A Lady Banks rose will be filled with exquisite yellow flowers during blooming season.


Deb & John Simmons
104 Shady Lane Circle

Entering the Simmons’ meandering driveway leads visitors to a boxwood-edged Williamsburg Circle in the front of the house. Evergreen plants form the foundation plantings both there and in the front and side gardens. Fescue around the house gives a live look all year round.

A courtyard inspired by home and garden shows in Charleston and Savannah features English boxwoods intermingled with roses to give color. All of the roses are fragrant varieties—Mister Lincoln, Dolly Parton, and a yellow-orange spice.

If nature permits (several more years without damaging ice storms or hail!), the Knot Garden which is being nurtured on
the back side of the courtyard will become just as desired.

The back and side gardens are highlighted by beds of ornamental grasses. Experimentation has shown that the Zebra Grass is quite tame, while others tend to be too aggressive. Perennials and annuals add additional color to these gardens. The poolside landscaping includes Indian Hawthorne, Palmetto Palms, yews from the NCSU Raulston Arboretum, and seasonal vegetables which are tucked away out of sight of the many deer.


Lise & Joe Zublena
317 North Salem Street

Possibly the largest garden on Salem Street, the Zublenas’ is a testament to he generous spirit of gardeners! Beneath many of the century-old trees are mini-gardens featuring plants from many of Apex’s outstanding gardeners.

There are snowbells from the Duncan house, a gift of current owners Ron and Ann Grebing; a River Walk garden features plants from Green Level’s Florrie Johnson; the Beasley Angel Trumpet outside the kitchen window brings summer morning joy and evening fragrance. Cuttings from Henry Covington’s azaleas adorn the
“Pine Forest” garden, and the shade garden boasts beautiful viburnum from Rachel Lewter’s garden.

Not content to have their entire garden material donated, Joe and Lise have added numerous plants, including camellias, hosta, and ferns in every area. A round vegetable garden is Joe’s summertime project. The weathervane is a reminder of the Apex fire trucks. Joe’s special continuing garden to the left of the front gate contains many electic plants, including the Weeping Blue Atlas.

Apex Historical Society
P.O. Box 506
Apex, NC 27502

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