“The Sisters'” Garden Damaged, But Not Destroyed

By Jim Heavner Posted July 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

CHAPEL HILL – A tree fell on the porch of “The Sisters” on Gimghoul road, just missing the house and the porch roof around 9:30 Monday morning.  It was a spectacular site, but the twins are unhurt and the house is remarkably undamaged.

“The Sisters,” as they are known, are Chapel Hill’s iconic identical twins, Bernice Stiles and Barbara Wade, now 98 years old.  They are known far and wide for their lovely garden, filled with spring and summer blooms that are chosen and cultivated so diligently that they are a destination attraction for locals and tourists alike.

When the garden is ready to be seen in the spring, they post a sign by the front walk, “The Garden Is Open.”  Everyone is invited to stroll through and enjoy.  The sign became the title of the first popup book by Chapel Hill author and artist Pamela Pease.  A picture of The Sisters cottage was a dominant feature in that book.  The home has been the subject of artists’ paintings for many years.

The sisters are so revered in the community that on the Battle Park corner of Gimghoul and Glandon roads, there is an open area that has been decorated with benches and markers designating it as, “The Sisters Corner.”

Thus, when the tree fell in such spectacular fashion blocking the view of the house from the road, there was widespread concern among many in the community.  The large red oak was on the side of the house and fell on the part of the front porch that is uncovered.

Barbara and Bernice have asked us to tell everyone that they are just fine, that the sun will return, the tree will be gone and the garden will be “more beautiful than ever.”

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