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North Hampton, New Hampshire
Just across the street from the Atlantic Ocean in a neighborhood of great summer mansions, you'll find some surprisingly elegant estate gardens that have nothing to do with beach grasses and wild roses. Fuller Gardens were part of the summer estate of Alvan T. Fuller, a governor or Massachusetts, and they were designed in the 1920s by no less a landscape specialist than Arthur Shurtleff, with additions in the 1930s by the Olmsted brothers. These extensive formal gardens divided into several separate parts are fine examples of the Colonial Revival style. Though there are a variety of garden attractions here, most people come to see the roses.
The seaside location is apparently ideal for roses and here you'll find two spectacular rose gardens (as well as a very pretty Japanese garden, profuse perennial beds, and a conservatory of exotic plantings). Some 1500 rose bushes of all types grandifloras, floribundas, and hybrid teas - are planted here in a variety of geometric beds; in fact, these are among the best designed rose gardens we have seen anywhere. Rather than the somewhat undistinguished, monolithic rose beds of so many gardens, these have been designed to complement the roses - both in color and texture. (This is, by the way, an official All-America Rose Display Garden for New Hampshire.)
The first of the rose gardens is in an enclosed, squarish garden arranged in geometric patterns with small statues, and fountains to ornament the brilliant blooms. It is charming and intimate and enclosed on one side by a high wooden fence with espaliered apple trees.
The second (behind the Japanese garden) is truly magnificent; in an enormous sunken garden surrounded by very wide, very uniform, waist-high hedges of yew, are a series of diamond-shaped rose beds divided by extremely narrow paths. Each bed is filled with a different color and species of rose. Surrounding the hedges are borders of glorious perennials which provide contrast and emphasis. This is an inspired design for the delicate rose!
As you walk around and among the maze-like arrangement of the paths, don't miss the many small decorations that add to the ambience the Etruscan urns, the planters at the gates overflowing with pretty blossoms, the little statuary almost behind the flowers. ...