The Dudley Mansion located at 400 South Front Street in Historic Downtown Wilmington is one of the most spectacular examples of Architecture & Garden in the South! Recently purchased by Ron & Cindy Pickett and extensively and exquisitely refurbished inside and out, this Home & Garden is the curiosity of everyone wanting to take a closer look. Published in recent articles listed below you can now take a peak on the inside of the home.
Overlooking the Cape Fear River on a high bluff supported by a majestic stone wall that surrounds the entire property, the Dudley Mansion exudes a sense of grandeur unlike anything else in the Cape Fear Region. The stone wall was inspired by San Cristobal Fort in Puerto Rico which is the largest fortification built by the Spanish Empire in the New World. In many of the cracks and crevices of the old stone wall you will see an abundance of the inadvertently imported West Indies Fern 'Doryopteris palmata' that came to the area by seed lodged in the coral stone used as ballast in the old ships.
The 5' stone wall along Front Street is gracefully interrupted by a custom built wrought iron fence that allows for great views of the entry garden from passers-by and horse-drawn carriage rides. Stately palm trees along the street and in the front lawn create an essence of Charleston ambiance. Elegant urns and benches of the period were added along the front foundation and front porch. Color is a passion of owner Cindy Pickett so it is very unlikely that you will pass by this garden without being in awe over the abundance of seasonal color. The flowers are selected, installed and cared for by the creative horticulturist Carolyn Thomas. Other details of the garden display her touch as well.
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The grand space of the rear garden was carefully studied by designer Tracy McCullen to honor the integrity of the architecture, garden wall, and the existing trees of historic value. The garden had been neglected for many years and was greatly damaged from a recent hurricane. Suffering from a large fallen Oak tree, the Grand Fountain had to be completely restored and was greatly accentuated by a new formal perennial garden. Along the perimeter stone wall, overgrown shrubs and smilax vines were removed and replaced with climbing roses on the West wall facing the river. White Crape Myrtles were installed along the North and South walls with Mondo Grass and Fern as groundcover, protecting the view of the gorgeous old stone wall. Under the shade of the existing large Oak tree is a peaceful pathway through a forest of fern enhanced with beautiful bronze sculptures. Restored walkways of cobblestone were slightly altered to create a better balance of the space and a more harmonious walk throughout the property. Large expanses of Zoysia lawn were installed to create space for enjoying the views of the home, the garden and the river. Oh to be so fortunate to have a wedding or social event in such a grand & elegant outdoor environment of one of the greatest gardens in the South.
The Dudley Mansion will be the site of the 2008 Azalea Festival Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies.
Click to view Wilmington Magazine Article, Jan/Feb 2007.