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Fascinating Fayetteville: The Zen of Beautiful Outdoor Spaces


By: Kim Hasty

Photography by: Matthew Wonderly and Cindy Burnham

In this month’s Fascinating Fayetteville, we invite you to take a walk through a traditional garden steeped in history. And then to pull up a comfortable chair in front of a roaring fire with the soothing sounds of a waterfall as a backdrop.

And, finally, we show you how to create a little magic that’s limited only by your own imagination. In a homemade fairy garden, you can send a tiny T-Rex stomping through colorful foliage, place a tiny pot of gold under an umbrella of shamrocks or create a Zen-like atmosphere with tiny oriental lanterns and a frolicking panda bear.
Join us as we offer a glorious glimpse of the beautiful, the whimsical and the peaceful.

Susanna Stiles always had a preference for the fluffy and the furry over the flora and the fauna.

“I was more of an animal lover,” she said.

But when she moved into the 1929 French country home that had been in her husband Grant’s family for generations, she inherited the responsibility of a half-acre’s worth of azaleas, crape myrtles, camelias, climbing roses and an assortment of other colorful treats.

Fortunately, she was able to call in reinforcements. Her mother, Mary Wade, is an avid gardener whose own mother, Mary Monroe, could make practically anything flourish. Mother and daughter regularly teamed up to plant, prune and weed the history-laden grounds on the corner of Raeford Road and Dobbin Avenue in Haymount.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Stiles said. “Now I’m interested in all of it myself.”

She also had the benefit of learning the history of the home from her husband’s grandmother, Mary Lu Enright, who grew up in the home under the auspices of her parents, Lucille and Chester Williams.

Chester Williams was a man who believed in both the importance of history and of children having fun.

As a child, Enright regularly invited neighborhood playmates such as Bobby Nimocks, Katherine Holmes and Anne Blackwell to her playhouse, swing set or jumping board on the grounds in warm weather. In the winter months, her father ran water over the driveway to create a slope for sledding into the cobblestone streets of Dobbin Avenue.

“He loved working in the yard and rooted most of the azaleas and camelias,” Enright said. “He built the wall in the lower yard with rocks from the old Fayetteville Arsenal. He made the rock garden with four pools, each flowing over into another. He brought in different millstones and had them placed around the yard.”

Chester Williams always claimed the light pink crape myrtle he planted was the first of its kind in Fayetteville.

“He finally found one in Mississippi and ordered it,” Enright said. That lovely tree still thrives and blooms in the summer months, no doubt benefitting from Williams’ steadfast believe that pruning crape myrtles was completely unnecessary and even inadvisable.

Off the kitchen, an outdoor sitting area welcomes visitors with a fireplace built using0 the chimney of the home’s original woodstove. Happily, Susanna and Grant Stiles and their three children have added their own flair to the home. The children, Mary Anna, 17; Olivia, 15; and Wade, 14, have settled into a year of remote schooling over the past year.

Meanwhile, Susanna has rekindled her love for working with animals. She regularly grooms the dogs of friends in a basement area equipped with a commercial sink, soaking tub and heavy-duty dryer. She also has the benefit of a variety of other trade-secret grooming tools, as in, how do they make those dogs end up smelling so good?
Wade has inherited his mother’s love for pooches. When he’s not sidled up on a sofa in the study with the family dachshunds Jingles and Betty, he can often be found entertaining his mother’s four-legged clients.

“He’s fallen in love with every dog I’ve had here,” Susanna Stiles said. “When I get done with them, they go chill with Wade.”