Today we’re on the road with Teresa Watkins, visiting a beautiful public garden in North Carolina.
A quick two-day trip to North Carolina provided the opportunity to capture the beauty and richness of autumn at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. Located on 55 acres with five miles of pedestrian paths, I strolled through lush, natural, and formal gardens each with its own theme and purpose. I found an Asian arboretum with Japanese accouterments, bridges, streams, ponds, and waterfalls, designed by the historic landscape designer Ellen Biddle Shipman. In every direction, you could see the burgundy, orange, red, and yellow colors associated with fall. Some arboreal views almost looked like there were layers of fire behind the trees.
Another section showcased seasonal vegetable gardens, complete with chickens, wildflowers, a compost pile, and signage to teach the value of sustainability. Pots of 3-foot-tall, cantaloupe-size chrysanthemums were scattered through the Pine Clouds Mountain Stream (Sho Un Kei). Some chrysanthemums were elegantly coifed, with petals layered perfectly; others waved their tousled mopheads in the breeze. I was compelled to take hundreds of photo memories. It was a wonderful three-hour tour. After the last 18 months of stress-filled isolation, I was thrilled that the Sarah P. Duke Gardens was full of human and wildlife visitors. Squirrels were scurrying along all the paths, and cardinals, robins, and wrens were feasting on bright berries and drinking from the Asian shishi-odoshi. I met people power-walking on their break, school groups visiting, college students reading, friends strolling and chatting, and a wedding party with guests. Yet there was plenty of space to be alone and find peace. I can’t wait to return; I have another three miles to explore.
The historic terraces and pergola are in the background.
Another view of the terraces
Pretty incredible view! I love the gold foliage in the background.
The Japanese garden
A view across the pond
Japanese-inspired displays around the pond
The Pine Clouds Mountain Stream (Sho Un Kei)
A perennial planting with a rustic birdhouse
Because Teresa sent so many great pictures, we’ll be following up with more images from this garden tomorrow.