Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Chapel Hill Gardens

Posted March 6, 2006

Spring is coming on fast. It's time to plan our annual trips to some of the finest gardens across North Carolina. We begin in Chapel Hill today where there is already a warm glow from a certain basketball victory over the weekend. One of my favorite spots on the UNC campus when I was a student there was Coker Arboretum. It is named after botany professor William Chambers Coker who more than a century ago developed a five-acre boggy pasture into an outdoor university classroom for the study of trees, shrubs, and vines native to North Carolina. Today dazzling displays of daffodils and daylilies will delight you. The wisteria-covered arbor has been described as heavenly. The Arboretum's main entrance off Cameron Avenue was reconstructed in 1998 as a gift by the Class of 1997. The Coker Arboretum is managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden which is our next stop. NCBG is located on Old Mason Farm Road near N.C. 54 and spans 600 acres. Here you will find an impressive display of plants native to North Carolina. Plants are separated into areas depicting the various regions of the state. When the weather gets a little warmer you will enjoy a shade garden and a fern collection along with rare plants and an aquatic collection. Sculptures in the garden enchance the experience. Tomorrow, we will head down the road to Durham to see what natural delights await us there.

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