Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Visit a Garden!

There is no better month to visit gardens in Charlotte than the warm and lovely month of May! From tiny plots filled with herbs to acres full of perennials, there's sure to be a planted space you'll adore. (If you're like me, you'll adore all of them!) Wander through the blooming greenery, take pictures, make some notes for your garden, maybe enjoy a picnic while you're there—just don't forget to smell the roses!

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is just outside Charlotte in Belmont, NC. It is a large garden with a huge collection of labeled plants, many of which are cultivars particularly suited to southern gardens. There are big fountains, an amazing orchid conservatory, nature trails and picnic areas. The property has an interesting history: botanist Andre Michaux walked across it on a plant collecting expedition in the 1700s! HGTV named Daniel Stowe one of the nation's 20 great gardens.

Demonstration Gardens by the Mecklenburg Master Gardeners The demonstration gardens at Independence Park and Freedom Park are designed to illustrate sustainable gardening practices. So, you can find out how to garden wisely, but also, "What grows in dry shade?,"  "What's a good native plant for sun?," and, "What's a shrub with good fall color?"

McGill Rose Garden A coal car and some train track are part of the McGill Rose Garden, and clue you in to the fact that this was once a coal yard. But, what grew out of that unlikely circumstance—beginning with just two shrubs in the 1950s—is an All-America Rose Selections (AARS) Public Garden with hundreds of beautiful roses today. Pretty vistas and sparkly garden art add to the fun.

Wing Haven and The Elizabeth Lawrence Garden  Along brick paths under the old oak trees of Wing Haven's three acres, you will see a series of plaques to ponder, statues, fountains and lots of wildlife.  There are formal garden areas, a rose garden and an herb garden. A short stroll away is the Elizabeth Lawrence garden where you can see the "laboratory" of that beloved garden writer.

The Botanical Gardens at UNC Charlotte  The Susie Harwood Garden, the Van Landingham Glen, and the McMillan Greenhouse complex comprise the botanical gardens. Planted with all seasons in mind, the Susie Harwood Garden is a delight anytime of year. A wide variety of interesting ornamental plants suitable for Piedmont gardens will have you scribbling latin names down in your notebook! The Van Landingham Glen is a woodland garden, home to native wildflowers, a large azalea and rhododendron collection, and a stand of bigleaf magnolia. See a bog garden with carnivorous plants, a succulent room, orchid room and a host of Bizarre Botanicals at the greenhouses.

The Charlotte Museum of History  The Hezekiah Alexander home site is on the campus' eight acres of wooded land. Historic gardens around the house include plants used by native Americans and early settlers for medicine, in worship, and for food. Behind the Hezekiah Alexander House is a colonial-style herb garden.

May 5  Can You Dig It? Charlotte Community Garden Tour
May 12 - 13  Wing Haven Gardener's Garden Tour

May 11  Visit N.C. Public Gardens to Celebrate Mother's Day

The best gardeners I know are those who practice regularly the habit of visiting other gardens. 
~ Alan Lacy, The Gardener's Eye


UPDATE for May 10, 2013:
The dates above have changed, but the links will give you the correct information for the current year.


  1. You have such a wonderful selection of public gardens to chose from in your area. I will definitely put them on my list of gardens to visit when I am in the Charlotte area. Did you know that May 11th is National Public Garden Day? So, this is a very timely post!

    1. Karin, Thanks for that reminder! I've updated the post with some info.