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Observational Journal 7: the Elizabethean Gardens

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…I don’t know why but it seems as though everything in Manteo closes at 6 P.M….

The earlier part of today was spent learning about OTEC-sailent devices that can be used to harness energy. To me, they seem incredibly inefficient. I hope that they will become more feasible as we gain more advanced understanding of this type of technology. They require a membrane that basically amounts to the length of a football field and it takes a lot of energy to operate them. One positive aspect is that some of the systems can be used to make salt water drinkable.

But, anyhow, on to the Elizabethan Gardens which were incredible! I was so excited to see them today. It was fascinating and beautiful! This is despite the fact that it was raining:

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After you pay, get your sticker, and go through the doors, this is what you will see. It’s kind of like Secret Garden where you are transported into another world full of beauty, wonder, history, and excitement. No one knows exactly where the lost colony was-in fact, there is a great amount of evidence to indicate that the lost colony is beneath the water. Maybe someday we will have an answer to this question. According to legend, the colonists left their settlement and went to live amongst Native American Tribes. Some even split off further and became their own separate tribes. Our guide mentioned the Lumbee tribe, native to North Carolina. More than likely, this is a large part of where the Lumbee tribe got its origins. Some of the most amazing people I know are members of this tribe (shout out to you, Dean Collins!).

This is actually where many people think the Lost Colony lies:

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There used to be a beautiful fence here that was donated to this cite by the French Embassy; however, after a hurricane it was knocked down and they left it in the water. The salt water erodes it quickly and they would never be able to restore it to what it was. Besides that, they simply just did not have the funds needed to get it out. You can still find pieces of the fence buried under the sand here. Our guide (a wonderful man named Robert) told us that the water has slowly been creeping forward year after year. He has noticed its progress himself in the short time that he has been in the Outer Banks.

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These are some of the plants that they sell at the Elizabethan Gardens. There are many herbs-such as mint, rosemary, etc. and they also sell many different kinds of flowers. Within these gardens are both native and non-native species. These gardens are extensive and are truly wonderful. I love nature…I especially love gardens…I especially love gardens where there are many plants that I’m familiar with. Many of the trees and flowers were grown in my own back yard! There are beautiful magnolia trees as well as different kinds of dogwood trees. We also saw many live oaks (the one shown below is over 500 years old):

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This tree is beautiful. The fact that it’s still alive after all this time strikes me in a particularly special way. This tree was here before the first British colonists ever arrived and it has lived throughout all of American history thus far. The staff at the Elizabethan Gardens is working on trying to keep this tree alive. The bottom has been filled in a bit with cement and the branches have been tied up at the top so that the tree can remain whole. They did not want the tree to split and become susceptible to parasites and other negative relationships.

Here is a picture of the most formal part of the garden:

I took this picture using my phone and I’m actually quite proud of it ^_^ it’s now my cover photo on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rachel.davis.5815?ref=tn_tnmn) I have a lot more pictures from the gardens and my other adventures on my profile, just in case you’re interested :)

The photo above is of me, Peter, and Caroline…many thinks to Dr. Dubbs for taking this picture. There are fossils buried in this area. If the weather was nicer and we had more time, I’m sure we would have competed to see who could find the most fossils. I had fun, regardless :)

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This is still part of the fossil dig site from above. In this picture, to the far right, is our guide Robert and then, going to the left, is Malcolm, James (who is touching the sign) and then Peter (who moved very quickly in order to get in that shot :).

This is more of a side note…but I really wanted to show you two works of art found in the garden:

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Above is the statue of Queen Elizabeth II and what is the most interesting aspect of this piece is that, if you hit her dress, it echoes and sounds kind of like a gong. I didn’t try that myself but Robert did…and I plan to do it later on when I head back there. I have to buy souvenirs for my sweetheart, family, and friends :)

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This is a sculpture of the first British child born in the colonies. There was a big issue with this because of the fact that she is half-naked. I personally think this sculpture is beautiful. Plus, you never know, she may have actually gone around half-naked..no one knows for sure :P

And, lastly…THE ROSES!

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Those who know me know that I LOVE roses-especially red roses! If you ever want to get on my good side, bring me roses. Seriously. It’ll work (just as my ex-boyfriend :P). These roses all have unique names because they are named after the person who created the particular type of rose. They had a terrific smell and some were actually quite old. All in all, this was a wonderful experience and one I think I will always remember. I am so happy and content after seeing this garden-truly, North Carolina is a wonderful state to live in with many adventures hidden just beyond the bush :)

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