If you want to see a huge collection of native plants in North Carolina, there’s perhaps nowhere better to go than the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. Set in the beautiful downtown area, this garden allows you to see more than 200 plant varieties grow and bloom before your very eyes. Since the trees, shrubs, and flowers only bloom from May through October, the garden only opens its gates seasonally.
For the full experience, you’ll want to visit early in May and then come back at least once a month after that. With that move, you get to see the plants awaken for the season and start to open their leaves, set their blooms, and put them on full display. Want to go on an educational journey on every visit? Call ahead to ask for the guided tour each time.
Otherwise, you can just go on a self-guided tour to explore the well-thought-out garden design. As you gaze at each corner of the garden, you can see the care put into hand-selecting the plants in every spot. The efforts go back to its inception in 1962 when Mr. Doan Ogden came onboard as the lead architect. While working with the state garden club’s committee, he created the garden layout blueprints and the original planting chart.
From there, the garden clubs and their surrounding community added their own special touches to the space. A private citizen donated land for a fernery, a gatehouse was erected using stones from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and junior gardeners raised funds for a birdbath. The Squire Boone Cabin arrived on site soon after the gardens came to life, standing in honor of Daniel Boone’s father. A reflecting pool went in near the cabin, but then got repurposed as a bog garden in the early 1990s.
So, as you explore, keep the history of the land in mind while taking in the amazing sight of all the beautiful flowers. Watch for pretty birds, butterflies, and other wildlife as well. You really never know just what you’re going to find when you visit the gardens.
What to expect to see each season:
March to April
To kick off the season in March, the Dogwood, Redbud, and Cherry trees come to life first. Then, they’re followed in suit by the Serviceberry bushes, Wood Anemones, and Wild Ginger.
May to June
As May turns to June, you can come by to see Bleeding Hearts, Wild Iris, and Columbine in all their glory. Then, Carolina Rose, Yucca, and Coral Bells add to the colorful display.
July to August
July through August is the time to see Clematis, Sweet Azalea, and Sunflowers opening up their blooms. Other late summer favorites include Nightshade, Swamp Mallow, and Milkweed, of course, which brings the butterflies.
September to October
To close out the season in September through October, you can swing by to see Goldenrod, Witch Hazel, and New England Asters working their magic. Don’t forget to check out the Jerusalem Artichoke as well.
Want to hold your wedding in a truly memorable venue? Book the native garden for your ceremony and reception. You can schedule an extra small wedding for 20 or fewer or go all out with a 200-person event. You’ll need to rent your own chairs, tents, and other equipments plus have portable toilets delivered to the site. Your booking does come with free reservations for rehearsals on the day prior to your event.
-Dogs are not allowed into the garden, but you can bring your service animal.
-If you need wheelchair access, enter at the Rockery. You’re welcome to contact them for assistance if needed.
-Avoid booking your wedding for Saturday morning if you want to have a lot of guests. The farmer’s market and football games add traffic and parking challenges galore.
-Want to use the gardens as your photography backdrop? You will need to pay a small fee.