Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the botanical garden adjoining the Duke University campus is my favorite garden for its beauty and its memories: it was the location of our wedding last June.
We were supposed to get married in the angle amphitheater (pictured below) on a balmy 96 degree evening. A quick rainstorm came through and we were moved to the tent at the Doris Duke center in the background, which cooled things off a bit and I'm told means good luck. It also made for a photographers dream lighting, the picture above is from our post-ceremony portraits in the garden (copyright Diane McKinney Photography).
So Brian and I finally got a free day together, and not having been able to get out of town for a few months, I grabbed by sun hat and we made the 30 minute drive over to Duke Gardens for a picnic among the spring flowers. We found a grassy spot overlooking a pond under a snowball viburnum.
It was the perfect time to enjoy the gardens, and there was so much to see! Duke Gardens has 4 main garden areas: The Doris Duke Center Gardens (where the angle amphitheater is), The H.L. Bloomquist Garden of Native Plants, The Terrace Gardens, and the Culberson Asiatic Areboretum.
|Trillium (unsigned species)|
In another stunning area, walking through the largest garden by far, the Asiatic Arboretum, I always discover interesting new plants. Perhaps this is because the gardens are always adding to their collection, with trips to China and Japan. With a lake as its center piece, and a traditional tea house on the shore, the beautiful details transform the North Carolina landscape into a lush Eastern paradise.
|Rhododendron macrosepalum 'Linerifolium' (Spider Azalea)|
|Illicium henryi (Henry Anise)|
Duke Gardens is our special place to get a way for a while outside of Raleigh. Along with a bit of sun and relaxation, I always come away inspired by the unique plants and beautiful designs. With the memories we've made and continue to make there, I'm sure it is a place we will make a point to visit often throughout our lives.
"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." ~John Muir