ccrtain street in Bonaparte Retreat I could be la
beled a genuine tourist's attraction, thanks to the
gardening wizardry of Henry "Hank" Dunn. His
landscaping artistry at 8951 East Calabash Drive has
made it a showplacc.
A square, three-tiered flower box of generous pro
portions rises pyramid-fashion and dominates the front
yard. It is topped by the stone figure of a seated boy
whose water jug produces a charming fountain, but die
real charm is the sparkle of color on every tier: bright
pink begonias, purple salvia and a few golden mums
among the assorted greenery of plants both familiar and
Everywhere you look there are similar attractions on
a smaller scale. Miniature flower beds surround the
trees. Boxwood elder, punctuatcd by pink and red impa
tiens, hugs the trim white house. Hydrangea and azalea
bushes wait their tum to bloom, hanging baskets of gera
niums brighten the back patio and a border of sunny
marigolds march down the driveway alongside golden
and silver euonymus. Here and there, lifesize figures of
swans and chicks and fanciful creatures add a touch of
humor to the garden.
Henry Dunn accomplished most of this display sur
rounding his home in his first two months of residence
here. Retiring nine years ago, the Louisiana native
moved here with his wife five years ago from Long
"I got to work right away on the yard and in two
months had it about where I wanted it," he said. "Then I
was bored; had nothing to do."
Since he claims gardening has always been his hob
by, ("his PASSION," his wife corrected), he quickly
found a part-time job keeping the grounds at nearby
Oyster Bay. Now he devotes 20 hours a week to bcauti
BY MARJOR1E MEGIVERN
1 ? MHHi mm 'k 3BEOBJM I
HANK DUNN and his faithful dog Bambi show off their front yard in Bonaparte's Retreat !, where begonias are the Javor^flower?"
fying thai part of Brunswick County, and at least that
much additional time to the home beauiification project.
Despite the planning and order apparent in his land
scaping, Dunn is somewhat spontaneous about his plant
ing. "1 just start with what I like; I'm a great lover of be
gonias," he said.
His acquisitions arc not confined to commercial gar
den shops. He found and moved some lovely dogwood
trees from the woods; a basket of deep green ajuga
ground cover he brought to Brunswick County four
years ago now covcrs everything in the rampant fashion
of kudzu. A tall, spiky dark red plant rising from a
marigold bed is a puzzle to Dunn. "Somebody from
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New York gave the seeds for this, but I have no idea
what it is," he said.
At 68, Dunn is a strong, agile gardener, but he is
smart enough to devise the easiest way to nurture his
planus, proudly displaying a sprinkling system that liter
ally hides among the greenery.
"This is just for the tough areas," he said. "Watering
is a problem, because water is so expensive in
Brunswick County. We drink it, but I use well water for
my front yard."
This is a one -person operation. Mrs. Dunn, although
a former floral designer, wants no part of her husband's
gardening. "I got tired of it," she said.
Glamorous flowers, plants and trees are not the only
product of Dunn's green thumb. A sizeable vegetable
garden is another. A backyard plot flourishes with toma
toes, eggplant, cucumbers, beans, peppers and watermel
on. "My ambition is to grow watermelon this big," Dunn
said, holding his hands about three feet apart."
He'll probably reach his goal, considering the ener
gy and determination this amateur gardener puts into his
work Even with the Oyster Bay job and responsibilities
of his presidency of the Bonaparte's Retreat
Homeowners' Association, Hank Dunn will surely find
the secret to bigger and belter watermelons.
And he'll solve the mystery of the red (lower.
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