Friday, May 10, 2013

Saving the Best for Last - the Duke Gardens

So if you had enough time to visit only one more garden in the Raleigh-Durham area, where would you go?


Such was the quandary I found myself in as Mr. Red House and I visited North Carolina for the last foreseeable time to pack up our (sold! woohoo!) house.  Though it wasn't really that much of a quandary - I've long wanted to visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in nearby Durham.

Yep, it's that amazing!
(I wish I could say this was me, frolicking amongst the flowers, but, well, it's a slightly more talented performer than myself..)
Even with a couple hours to visit, we still only saw about half of the extensive gardens!  The Duke Gardens are broken up into several parts.  The Terraces is the oldest part, designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman in the 1930's.  It was incredibly stunning, overflowing with blooms.


The wisteria-covered pergola is the crown of the Terraces (and a prime spot for wedding photos).  Steps lead down...


 ...through lush terraces... 


...filled with blooms in all sorts of color combinations...


... and down to a koi-filled pool.


Did I mention it was impressive?

In total contrast, the H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, another section of the Duke Gardens, had a much more unorganized, natural feel, being essentially a 6.5 acre woodland garden.  


Opened in the 1960's, this garden holds more than 900 species and varieties of plants native to the Southeast.

Mountain Azalea
Many of these plants were rescued from land that was being developed, and it also holds some rare and endangered plant species.

Trumpet Honeysuckle
This garden is very wildlife friendly, and has a large, um, squirrel-feeding station?


We only had time to walk through a section of this garden.  It is too bad this is the first time I have gotten the chance to see it - I would have loved to see the different native plants blooming at different times of the year!  

Native dogwoods and columbine are in bloom along the path.
So if you ever get the chance to visit the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, definitely check out the Duke Gardens.  I was so glad I finally got the chance!


20 comments:

  1. Wow, the entire place is quite impressive! The more formal section obviously is well-tended, and the native plant garden looks very inviting. You must be so excited about your transition! Good luck!

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    1. It was very impressive! They obviously spend a lot of work on it! (Maybe all those Duke University horticulture students?)

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  2. Thanks for the tour of Duke Gardens just in case I don't get there in person.

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    1. I wish I could have seen all of it. Of course, then I would need to do several posts to cover it all!

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  3. What a beautiful garden! I'm so glad you got to see it (and took photos). I laughed, though, at the squirrel. Seems like they follow you wherever you go. I wonder if there will be some waiting for you at your new house!

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    1. If only my squirrels knew of the abundance of food there! They'd all pack up and move! Somehow I doubt that I'll be rid of squirrels completely no matter what :)

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  4. Impressive is putting it mildly...I am adding this lovely garden to my list fo must see places...just gorgeous. Have fun with your new NE squirrels...

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    1. So far I've seen squirrels AND chipmunks! This could make for some interesting battles over the bird feeder!

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  5. Love that combination of orange and white tulips.

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    1. I wish pictures could capture just how VIVID the colors are, too!

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  6. Glad you got to see a beautiful garden before heading North. I especially liked the Mountain Azalea.
    Good that your house has sold - best of luck with the move! Can hardly wait to see the new place (I'm so NOSY…)

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    1. Ha, I can't wait to see my next house, either! Completed, that is. We are actually buying one that's under construction. It will be done in a couple months, if all goes well! (And it has a much bigger space for a garden, hurrah!)

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    2. couple of months? Let us see the new garden as it develops?

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  7. Well, I suppose it is highly unlikely that I will see Duke Gardens, I didn't half enjoy my virtual visit though.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual tour! I could have posted tons of pictures of this place, but I restrained myself!

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  8. I can imagine what that arch must be like when the wisteria is blooming! Thanks for the views of a very beautiful garden. I am just becoming aware of how many spectacular public gardens there are, and I have seen only a tiny portion of them!

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    1. The wisteria was gorgeous. The stems were incredibly thick - those plants must have been there for decades!

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  9. I can't believe you haven't been to Duke Gardens before. Then again, I haven't been to the JC Arboretum... Its amazing in all seasons, but I really think spring is the peak time.

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    1. Between having little kids (who are not very helpful when visiting gardens) and not liking to drive in unfamiliar cities (due to being very directionally challenged), I haven't been to as many gardens as I would like. But I was so glad to finally see Duke Gardens (without children)! You should definitely check out the Arboretum at some point as it has some impressive and beautiful collections, but I think Duke is larger and grander in scope.

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  10. Will definitely add Duke Gardens to my list of gardens to visit.Thanks for sharing so many lovely photos.
    http://www.myflowerjournal.com/

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