My mother has three daughters. (That’s a rather strange way of saying that I have two sisters.) My Mom would be the first to agree that each one of us is very different.
The Research Triangle region of North Carolina has three major public gardens: Duke Gardens (Duke University’s crown jewel), the North Carolina Botanical Garden (a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill treasure), and the JC Raulston Arboretum (NC State University’s gem). Two of these locales are listed among the 50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.
I’ve visited and written about Duke Gardens many, many times, and I’ve shared photos of the NC Botanical Garden several times as well. Until recently, I had yet to visit the JC Raulston Arboretum.
The main goals of the 10-acre Arboretum are to provide a center for learning and a place to cultivate plants for southern landscapes. The grounds are divided into several themed gardens and borders. Memorial plaques and dedications can be found throughout. I particularly liked a memorial plaque I spotted by the Rose Garden:
“They loved the rose for its beauty and fragrance, a glimpse of God’s glory.”
Here’s a glimpse of the glory through the lens of my camera…and in the meandering order in which I encountered its beauty.
This area contains drought tolerant plants that are native to South Africa, Mexico, and the southern United States.
The architectural design of Lath House, comprised of iron supports, wooden beams overhead, tiled paths underfoot, and raised beds of plants, is award-winning.
Trees from around the world can be found in Plantsmen’s Woods. An eastern redbud, with its golden-orange new growth, caught my eye.
This colorful, full-sun space is an official All-America Selections testing site where new cultivars are evaluated for use in home gardens.
This garden is part of a larger group of gardens called the Model Garden.
A.E. Finley Rooftop Terrace
This garden is so unique (IMHO). Although the conditions of the rooftop garden are severe, plants that can tolerate heat, dryness and wind thrive in soil containing sand and slate.
Centers of Learning
The Arboretum offers both an Education Center, where programs and private events are held, as well as a Visitor Center.
Another historic notable at JC Raulston Arboretum is the 50-foot tall Columnar English Oak, which was the first tree planted there.
Following my afternoon at the JC Raulston Arboretum, I concluded that these three public spaces—beautiful though each one is—are very different from one another. Unlike my mother, who doesn’t have a favorite daughter, I do have a favorite public garden. Most likely, you can guess which one it is. But my personal preference aside, all three are lovely and I encourage you to visit one, or two, or all of them soon. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Parking and admission to the JC Raulston Arboretum are free, but donations are accepted.
 As awarded by Best Colleges Online.