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..
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
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 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
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
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.