For this week’s edition of Local Tourist, I’d like to take you to the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. Also known as the location of my second date with D, circa 2003. How time flies because that was precisely the last time I set foot inside (!!). So while running an errand in Chapel Hill this week, I decided to make an impromptu stop here for old time’s sake, and boy was I glad!
NCBG is a conservation garden run by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is open to the public and free to visit. According to their website:
North Carolina is home to an amazingly rich flora, including many plant species found nowhere else in the world. For more than half a century, the North Carolina Botanical Garden has been dedicated to conserving that unique botanical legacy. Today, we cultivate more than 1,100 acres of garden and conservation areas, safeguard rare and endangered plant species from extinction, and educate new generations of plant lovers and environmental citizens. This is much more than a display garden. It is a robust ecosystem where people can discover the natural world, experience its healing and restorative power, and understand why conservation is critical to our quality of life. Year-round native plant gardening makes for a unique and beautiful landscape, from the tiny ephemerals that pop up in early spring to the stunning, architectural seed heads of fall. Whichever season you find yourself here, we hope you enjoy our conservation garden!
I found the garden very peaceful. The trails are stroller friendly and allowed me to wander around with Ari as we went from one habitat to another. I loved how sculptures and benches are tucked away in quiet and unexpected corners. There are so many native plants here, including the carnivorous variety (nothing like watching a Venus Fly Trap actually trap a fly in front of your eyes). The pond is full of frogs and you can actually see them jumping around. The gift shop was a homerun too with an art gallery, gardener’s library, and a shop filled with so many wonderful gifts (I bought some seeds for our garden, a wildflower guidebook, and some bug tattoos for the kids).
The shady and meandering trails are perfect for little legs so take the kids. I left NCBG feeling energized and refreshed, and also a bit nostalgic. I think it might be time for me to plan our next date here! : )