PPA – Day 4

Today was another long one but we again beat the odds with the rain missing most of our stops.  I didn’t have to open the umbrella all day but our bus went through some major rain throughout the day and flash flood warnings were issued with 2″ of rain pounding down in 2 hours!  We had three destinations today as well as some lectures back at the hotel.  Our morning tour consisted of Niche Gardens which is a nursery that RBG has ordered from in the past.  Neat sculptures seen above and below.  They had some rare stuff and our two bus loads of attendees didn’t shy away from buying plants.  Our second stop was an unbelievable garden owned and maintained by folks that originally owned a specialty nursery on site.  The woody plant collection was unbelievable and I barely got through the 4 acre garden in an hour.  Fabulous.  This evening we had a dinner and tour of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC.  This is another garden that I’ve always wanted to visit.  Despite the pounding rain which had created washed out and flooded paths, the garden was exceptional.  I would rank this as one of the top 10 gardens in the country without a doubt.  The combination of vast plant content, innovative design, good interpretation and excellent maintenance was very apparent.  I again took a flurry of photos over 2 hours which also included me choking down dinner in 5 minutes so I could see even more….

neat information mailboxes and rustic signage below (at Niche Gardens)

This modest house was surrounded by 4 acres of unbelievable plantings!


Founded in 1934, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens are 55 acres of both formal and informal plantings including wooded areas, streams and other features.  This garden was absolutely spectacular and my next visit will need to be for an entire day as my 2 hours there didn’t do it justice.  The staff was very helpful and the displays were top notch.

weeping blue Atlantic cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’) used to great effect!

this garden above was designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman, a famous landscape designer