I'd been in there once before, several years ago, but all I took away from that early visit was the overpowering smell of all those fragranced candles. So, it being Friday, TGIF and all that, I wasn't opposed to a little poking around. I amused myself for over an hour walking all around the complex of buildings (store, museum, restaurant, and so on), first outside and then in, finally picking out a small gift from the very last merchandising station.
The complex is set off from the road by a greensward that would make most groundskeepers sigh with envy. The buildings are encircled by porches, porticos, and covered sidewalks, all of those likewise encircled by a swath of plantings. All of the flora has been meticulously fed, watered, and trimmed, so that now, at the climax of the growing season, the plants are so large and healthy as to be a mite scary.
What arrested me particularly about these bold, proliferant beds was the preponderance of black flowers. The same elephant-ear caladiums I had noted in Stratton were there, along with black cattails, an evil-looking black bush I couldn't identify, and these hanging baskets with sooty sweet potato vines trailing all the way to the ground. Deep yellow thunbergia (black-eyed Susan vine) with their dark centers, even a row of black rockers on the porch. Is this a new landscaping trend I'm unaware of? Kind of menacing overall.