When you come to the Mountain Magnolia Inn, we recommend that you plan to spend a few minutes (or hours) enjoying the grounds. You can stroll through one of the many gardens, sip wine, tea or coffee on the terrace, snooze in one of our hammocks, or hide in the shade amongst the low growing branches of the giant Southern magnolia.
Nearly three acres, our grounds are a natural complement to the expansive beauty of the mountains, and the well-tended perennial gardens and boxwood maze which you will find near the house gracefully merge into more natural wooded areas around the perimeter. The countless hands who have worked over the past 150 years to create this beautiful and soothing landscape have made use of many of the native species of our bio diverse region here in the southern Appalachians, and the result is a lush, verdant oasis of healthy flora! Black walnut, Southern magnolia, American beech, Yellow buckeye, sycamore, several varieties of dogwoods, Eastern hemlock, witch hazel and redbud are among the tree species you will find featured here, and no matter the time of the year, their forms and colors amaze visitors with their grace and beauty.
Around the house are a diverse variety of native and non-native shrubs which provide year-round interest. A long-standing boxwood maze dramatically claims the front and center yard, while rock gardens, perennial cut flower gardens, shade gardens and a native wildflower garden grace every nook and cranny between the Inn, the lawn, the Garden House and the parking. To the east of the house is a park-like grove of majestic, old black walnuts, one of whom has a most unique form with large branches draping all the way to the ground and then sweeping back up again. People have said this tree reminds them of the form of the live oaks down in the low country. Many a happy couple have said their vows in her shade!
The path from the Inn to the Garden House will lead you through the cutting garden, home to culinary herbs and vegetables for the kitchen's use as well as flowers for cutting and arranging for the dining tables, foyer and bathroom. We grow to the request of Executive Chef Zeb McDermott as well as the requests of the breakfast chefs. Basil, rosemary, chives, parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano, several varieties of mint, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, kale, squash and zucchini are among the tasty morsels organically grown in the cutting garden. You will also find colorful flowers and foliage for cutting all season long. Dahlia, zinnias, hydrangeas and sunflowers are among our favorites.
Pete Nagle's daughter, Dana, and Stacey Geyer are the groundskeepers, tending lawn and gardens with non-chemical love and care. You will often find them out and about, with pruners, shovels, watering cans or a weed eater! They are both experienced gardeners who enjoy their work and love talking about plants. You may also find John Price, Renaissance Maintenance Man, out and about taking care of any number of things, from the tent over the terrace, to firewood, to outdoor lighting.
The short walk to town down our shady lane will take you along a road that runs parallel to the railroad tracks and over Spring Creek via a restored historic foot traffic only red trestle bridge. You can get lost in time on the bridge; you won't know if it's 1910 or 2014!