Discover native plants across the state at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.
Another glorious spring has arrived, and wildflowers across the state celebrate with colorful explosions of beautiful blooms. Seeking out pretty wildflowers can be fun in the spring, but the drive from Manteo to Murphy can be a bit long. Instead, take it all in by heading for the center of the state and going to what I call the Garden of Three Springs.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Botanical Garden is a diverse showcase of native plants. It not only displays wildflowers common in the Piedmont region, but it also has a Coastal Plains and Sandhills Habitat garden that features such spring-blooming beauties as dwarf azalea, Carolina Jessamine, red buckeye, and dwarf iris; and the Mountain Habitat garden bursts with upper-elevation pretties such as trilliums, Virginia bluebells, windflowers, phacelia, and Oconee bells.
Three different regions, so three springs in one garden. The NCBG has many other display gardens, including the Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden, and at this time of year, wallflower, lily-of-the-valley, woad, speedwell, “Lady Banks” rose, and other springtime showoffs will be on parade. In addition, the Native Water Gardens make a splash with such beauties as indigenous water lilies, heartleaf pickerelweed, and American lotus lilies. And nearby is the NCBG’s intriguing Carnivorous Plant Collection, which features the famous Venus flytraps as well as pitcher plants, butterworts, and sundews.
The NCBG also has a new non-plant pride-and-joy — its innovative green education center, which just opened this past fall. While at the center, check out NCBG’s active events schedule, and ask where the “for sale” plants are. They’re not only reasonably priced, but also they’re the perfect living souvenirs to take home as reminders of a fun day in the Garden of Three Springs.
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Road
Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
To Do in April
- Go wild. Incorporate into your garden native wildflowers such as turtlehead, ironweed, cardinal flower, climbing aster, eastern blue phlox, coral honeysuckle, Black-Eyed Susan, or Joe-Pye weed — all of which can stand out with their gorgeous blooms.
- If you like hummingbirds, keep in mind that they are attracted to such plants as crabapple, redbud, honeysuckle, lilac, monarda, salvia, catalpa, tulip poplar, hawthorn, azalea, weigela, and coralberry.
- Two secrets for a full-flowering clematis: First, make sure it gets plenty of sun (five to six hours a day). Second, keep the roots cool with a three- to four-inch thick covering of organic mulch.
Editor, writer, and lecturer L.A. Jackson lives in Apex.