Central North Carolina Feature
Exploring the gorgeous gardens in North Carolina's Piedmont is a year-round pleasure. For starters, there are lots of them, and they are diverse in size, style, and plant life. Many offer the charm of surprise, as they can be found in little-known or unlikely places. From April until the first frost in November, for example, wildflowers offer dazzling bursts of color along the roadsides. Here's a sample of the state's standouts:
North Carolina Zoo. In the Uwharrie Mountains are the city of Asheboro and its North Carolina Zoo, home not just to creatures great and small, but also botanicals from the Arctic to the tropics. 4401 Zoo Pkwy., Asheboro, NC, 27205. 336/879–7000 or 800/488–0444. www.nczoo.org.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. This bright garden is known for its painterly display of colors in a vast perennial garden, wildflower meadow, Canal Garden, an orchid conservatory, and other themed areas. 6500 S. New Hope Rd., 20 mi west of downtown Charlotte, Chapel Hill, NC, 28012. 704/825–4490. www.dsbg.org.
Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary. Set in one of the city's most exclusive neighborhoods, this four-acre garden is a serene environment for feathered visitors and others. 248 Ridgewood Ave., Chapel Hill, NC, 28209. 704/331–0664. www.winghavengardens.com.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden. Spanning 79 acres at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek, these gardens boast 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants, an old-growth forest, a heritage garden, and separate gardens dedicated to daylilies, camellias, and hostas. 536 N. Eastern Blvd., 45 mi east of Aberdeen, Chapel Hill, NC, 28301. 910/486–0221. www.capefearbg.org.
Bicentennial Gardens & Bog Garden. Sandwiched between two busy roads, the Bicentennial Gardens & Bog Garden flourish almost despite themselves. The garden beds are carefully tended, especially compared to the nearby bog, whose natural setting includes wooden walkways over water and wetlands. Hobbs Rd. and Starmount Farms Dr., Chapel Hill, NC, 27410. 336/373–2199. www.greensborobeautiful.org.
JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. The university's working, research, and teaching garden holds the most diverse collection of hardy temperate-zone plants in the southeastern United States, a white garden, and a 450-foot-long perennial border. 4415 Beryl Rd., Chapel Hill, NC, 27695. 919/515–3132. www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum.
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