North Carolina public gardens

Appreciate your public gardens on May 11
By Karen Olson House
North Carolina public gardens

The North Carolina Arboretum

The fourth annual National Public Gardens Day, scheduled for Friday, May 11, is a national celebration that invites communities to explore the beauty of their local green spaces while raising awareness of the important role public gardens play in promoting education and environmental preservation.

The American Public Gardens Association, based in Kennett Square, Pa., lists more than 500 North American public gardens, most of which will be celebrating the day in their own unique ways with special activities for schools, families, garden enthusiasts and other visitors. For example, Airlie Gardens in Wilmington will offer free admission, special events for children and a few other surprises during extended hours (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) on National Public Gardens Day.

Annually scheduled on the Friday preceding Mother's Day weekend, some APGA member garden activities will continue through Mother's Day weekend. Examples of APGA's diverse members include botanical gardens, college/university gardens, arboreta, educational gardens, farm gardens, historical landscapes, zoos and museum gardens. For more information on National Public Gardens Day or to find an APGA garden near you, visit, "LIKE" the National Public Gardens Day Facebook page and follow the National Public Gardens Day Twitter feed, @NPGD.

Note: Some North Carolina APGA member gardens are below, but not all. To find others, as well as learn about other North Carolina gardens open to the public but which are not APGA gardens, go to


Visit a North Carolina public garden

Airlie Gardens

Historic waterfront plantation estate's 67 acres that feature formal gardens, a butterfly house, wildlife, historic structures, walking trails, sculptures, camellias and more than 100,000 azaleas.

300 Airlie Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 452-6393

Cape Fear Botanical Garden

A 77-acre garden located on the Cape Fear and Cross Creek Rivers that includes a camellia collection, daylily garden, nature trail, perennials, sundial garden and heritage garden.

536 N. Eastern Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28305
(910) 486-0221

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Located on 450 acres along the banks of Lake Wylie just west of Charlotte, it includes more than 110 acres of themed gardens, with botanical gardens, perennials, woodland trail, canal garden, cottage garden, kitchen garden, fountains and visitor pavilion.

6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC 28012
(704) 825-4490

Elizabethan Gardens

A formal garden that includes a sunken garden, rose garden, woodland and wildlife garden, camellias and rhododendrons, overlook terrace, with statuary through the garden.

1411 National Park Drive
Manteo, NC 27954
(252) 473-3234

JC Raulston Arboretum

Features include a white garden, bedding plant trails, perennial border, Japanese garden, rose garden, a world-class collection of redbuds, plus magnolias, junipers, and other select trees, vines, and shrubs.

4415 Beryl Road
Raleigh, NC 27606-1446
(919) 515-3132

Juniper Level Botanic Gardens

A specialty nursery that includes botanic gardens with more than 6,000 different plants aesthetically displayed in rock, aquatic, desert, shade and grotto gardens and extensive mixed borders.

9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 772-4794

New Hanover Extension Arboretum

This seven-acre arboretum displays a variety of plants that grow in this coastal area as well as emerging trends in plant material.

C6206 Oleander Drive
Wilmington, NC 28403 USA
(910) 798-7666

North Carolina Botanical Garden

The North Carolina Botanical Garden comprises more than 1,000 acres, including 10 acres of display gardens and a number of natural areas. The main visitor site, the Display Gardens and Education Center, is located off of Old Mason Farm Road and the US 15-501 Bypass in Chapel Hill, and features habitat display gardens that interpret the plants and vegetation of North Carolina, perennial borders, a garden of flowering plant families, nature trails, a "green" education center with exhibits, and more.

University of NC at Chapel Hill
100 Old Mason Farm Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-0522

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden

This seven-acre site features ten gardens showcasing more than 1,000 different plants and includes an award-winning perennial border, a kitchen garden and a large spring-flowering bulb display.

215 South Main St.
Kernersville, NC 27285
(336) 996-7888

Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University

These woodlands, fields, wetlands and formal gardens were once part of the R.J. Reynolds estate. A greenhouse and conservatory contain educational displays of tropical and succulent plants and an extensive orchid collection.

100 Reynolda Village
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
(336) 758-5593

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Its 55 acres include terraces, a native plants garden (representing flora of the southeastern United States), an Asiatic Arboretum devoted to plants of eastern Asia, and the Doris Duke Center Gardens. There are more than 200 colorful plant varieties viewable from more than five miles of walkways and paths.

426 Anderson St
Durham, NC 27708-0341
(919) 684-3698

The North Carolina Arboretum

Its 434 acres include art installations, 65 acres of cultivated gardens, an educational center, production greenhouse and one of the finest bonsai collections in the U.S.

Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 393)
Asheville, NC
(828) 665-2492

UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens

These consist of three main areas — the McMillan Greenhouse complex, the three-acre Susie Harwood Garden, and the seven-acre Van Landingham Glen, all located together on the east side of the UNC-Charlotte campus. Highlights include orchids, desert plants, carnivorous and tropical plants, native wildflowers, and a winter garden, Asian garden and water garden.

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223
(704) 687-0720

Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Nearly three acres of formal gardens and controlled natural areas with a focus on attracting birds. Plants include roses, wildflowers, herbs, ferns, and a woodland garden and plaques and statuary are integrated in brick walls and paths.

248 Ridgewood Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28209-1632
(704) 331-0664

About the Author

Karen Olson House is a contributing editor for Carolina Country.

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