The Gardens of Westerwood
Earthly delights proliferate in this century-old neighborhood
Story and Photographs by Lynn Donovan
In October 1919 an ad appeared in a Greensboro newspaper introducing Westerwood and its newly named streets — Crestland, Woodlawn, Hillside, Courtland. A.K. Moore of Guilford Insurance and Real Estate Company proudly announced the winners of a contest held to rename the area streets of the neighborhood formerly known as The Cedars and Oakland Park. By the summer of 1920 Westerwood boasted 23 houses that were either finished or under construction — Craftsman bungalows, Tudor cottages and Colonial Revival dwellings, with a few unusual designs added to the mix.
One hundred years later, the neighborhood is thriving. To celebrate its history and longevity, residents recently opened their gardens to the public. We happily joined the walking tour.
210 North Mendenhall
The creation of one of Greensboro’s best chefs, the shady, backyard, cottage-style, garden is filled with perennials. The front yard has loads of sun and herbs, roses and a constantly changing bed of perennials that bloom throughout the entire year.
Charlie Heddington & Debbi Seabrooke
515 North Mendenhall
This permaculture garden is arguably the most unusual garden in Westerwood. By definition, a permaculture garden is a diverse, low-maintenance perennial food garden that imitates natural ecologies. The Heddingtons’ patch of earth produces 15 kinds of fruit, a wealth of herbs and flowers, as well as row upon row of annual vegetables. It captures and stores rainwater through bamboo pipes and carpet ponds.
Patti Midgett & Dan Nicholson
310 Hillside Drive
This backyard encompasses a beautiful, terraced hillside featuring beds of perennials that overlook the future Greenway. The terraces tame the slope by incorporating found and repurposed materials. The front yard is a colorful mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables chosen to attract bees and other pollinators.
Diane & Tracy Peck
512 Woodlawn Avenue
This Zen garden is loosely inspired by a traditional Japanese garden and features a tranquil koi pond. Shade-loving plants found here include Japanese maples, hydrangeas, hellebores and ferns. In early spring the sunny front garden is brimming with tulips and irises.
Chris & Robyn Musselwhite
415 Woodlawn Avenue
This backyard garden is a multipurpose urban space with flowering trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables. Perennials and annuals share the part sun/part shade yard. A fountain, stone terraced kitchen garden, whimsical birdhouses and an outdoor living space complete this inviting green space.
1005 Fairmont Street
Taking up the entire backyard, a hand-dug pool under a canopy of shade trees is bordered by a brick walkway flanked by beds of Japanese maple and star magnolias. The terraced front yard features beautiful blooms provided by annuals surrounding hand-laid brickwork. Hidden in the back corner is a petite dwelling complete with chickens living in a small coop.
This English cottage garden is one of the most charming gathering spots in all of Westerwood. The front and back yards are full of perennials, herbs, bulbs, ground covers and more. An old chicken coop and decrepit garage have been transformed into a spellbinding space that is used almost year round. With the addition of a magical garden shed and touches of whimsy, this garden is hard to leave.
1405 Northfield Street
This low-maintenance, mixed-use backyard garden is geared for entertaining. A stonework patio and fire pit are the center pieces that are surrounded by dogwoods, Japanese maple, hydrangea, ferns and hosta to create texture. Stepping stones imprinted with the Barnards’ children’s hand and feet prints add whimsy to a functional space.
One Thing More
Fall under the spell of one of Greensboro’s oldest neighborhoods at the 10th annual Westerwood Art & Sole celebration. On October 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can stroll the leafy environs, visit artists’ studios, peruse locally made art and listen to front porch music. Info: facebook.com/westerwoodartandsole. OH
Lynn Donovan is a contributing photographer for O.Henry magazine and Seasons Style & Design.