Sunday, 28 February 2010

Winter wonderland in North Carolina!

I thought I was in heaven when I went to Filoli, but yesterday I went to a garden in North Carolina that set my heart soaring even higher – the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont. It’s quite one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve seen on my travels this year, and what I couldn’t believe was the way it looked in the middle of winter - the temperature was just above freezing and this has been the weather pattern for weeks here – yet the garden looked serene under a Carolina blue sky and with many plants in bloom.

This site was the brain child of Daniel and Alene Stowe, who bought some 450 acres in 1989 and set them aside with the idea of making a garden in the years to come. This was no mean feat and Stowe, who had made his fortune in textiles, wanted these gardens to be perfect, so although construction and planning went on throughout the 1990's, it was not until October 1999 that 110 acres of gardens finally opened to the public. Just over 10 years later, these gardens continue to bloom, and they certainly go right into the top league that I've visited on my travels.

The Canal Garden (top and above) is quite astounding, with its glorious fish sculptures and fountains … and this was the middle of winter, so I can only imagine how wonderful it must be in full bloom in the summer! And this gives access to the other eight garden "rooms", which must also be quite a sight to behold in bloom.
Today, much of the garden is beginning to mature, so each year will see more plants in bloom. But it also has the added advantage of its magnificent Orchid Conservatory (above), which is not only beautifully designed, but you will see bromeliad, orchid and epiphyte displays that make your heart leap, like the wall below. Much thought has gone into these displays and they are certainly unique.
The Conservatory only opened in 2008, and the amount of planning, both architecturally and botanically that went into this building, is abundantly obvious when you look at features like the epiphyte arches (below), which allow you to see just how these plants grow.

I have no qualms in saying that this is one of the best gardens I've visited in the US and one that I shall go back to time and time again, to see it throughout the seasons. This must surely be one of the most innovative and exciting botanical gardens to open in the last twenty years and I will certainly return whenever I visit North Carolina!

19 comments:

  1. It looks absolutely stunning, thanks for sharing!

    For me who lives far away in SWEDEN, your blog has anhanced my knowledge about non-european gardens:-)) I dont think I otherwise would have heard about this one! THanks again!
    Greetings, H.

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  2. Great photos of a really interesting garden. The Hammamelis is gorgeous.

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  3. It already is a beautiful garden but in another ten years it will be marvelous. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I will have to try and visit!!!

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  5. I really am looking forward to it after seeing some of these photos!! Love the Witch Hazel!

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  6. Wow - if it looks like that in the middle of winter, it must be absolutely stunning in summer. If I get travel that way, I hope I can remember to stop by for a visit.

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  7. The tillandsia archways are amazing! Thank you for the great pics.
    -Megan

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  8. The Conservatory & the arches really look like there was a lot of work done in keeping those plants in the right places. And truly that is really a winter wonderland.
    Very beautiful indeed.

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  9. Wonderful! Such imagination! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. The epiphyte archway is incredible. Thanks for taking us with you on your garden tour. If we find ourselves in this neck of the woods we will know where to visit.

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  11. It is embarassing to live four hours away, and never have visited....you've definitely put this one on my "to do" list.

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  12. wow i'm so excited to see your post this morning!! i love DSBG but live close enough to take it for granted a little bit. i'm glad you liked it so much. it really is a wonderful place with lots going on at all times of year. the plans for the future are so exciting - you'll have to keep coming back!

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  13. GG...another beautiful garden! Amazing that you returned with such beautiful photos in the dead of winter! I love the photo of the broms and orchids dripping from the wall...a dream I have for my lanai.

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  14. I'll have to stop by on the way to the coast.

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  15. Well, a garden that excites you as much as this one, must be amazing. So much beauty and structure for such a young garden points to good design and planning.

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  16. The conservatory is WONDERFUL!!! I love the arches! Really nice! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Like Gittan, oh wow is the first thing that comes to mind! The brom display is out of this world! Thanks for showing this one, much closer to me than Filoli. :-)
    Frances

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  18. Great pics! It was fun to follow you on your journey.

    Lisa

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