Today I learned that Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce has awarded Scarborough Inn with their 2022 Award for Outstanding Landscaping and Signage.
I find myself an unlikely recipient of any landscaping-related recognition. Having been an apartment-dweller the past two decades, I've never successfully managed to grow even a single basil plant. I was more than a bit intimidated taking over an inn replete with hydrangeas, lilies, two very photogenic crape myrtles, and one semi-hidden fig tree.
Most of these were planted by long-time innkeepers, Gus and Carol Bruno. Since taking over, I've tried my best not to kill their hard work while adding new touches to adapt to how our guests have been using the inn.
Like most properties in the Residential Historic District, Scarborough Inn doesn't have much green space. We re-polished and repainted a long faded terrazzo shuffleboard court below our porch. We resurfaced the surrounding patio with cost-effective precast pavers. By using a random ashlar pattern and selecting pavers from four different colorways, we were able to create a warm and inviting environment.
Then we set about "softening the hardscape." As we host a variety of events, much of our "landscaping" is moveable. Monica Maxwell, our assistant innkeeper, landed on the excellent idea of repurposing old filing cabinets as rolling planter boxes. Dune grass and conifers create year-round privacy screens that can be moved as needed. We painted them hot pink to match our facade's new color scheme, itself a nod to Scarborough Inn's former pastel pink color scheme. Silkscreened with our logo, they add a splash of color and place-specific accent to any photo.
Hot pink flower boxes add accents to the façade. In summer we fill them with colorful zinnias. In autumn, they're loaded up with mums and pumpkins.
Maintained landscaping along with nostalgic music, lit candles, and cleared sidewalks serve as reminders to passersby that Scarborough Inn is attended to year-round by people that care for this place.
I still struggle growing basil though.