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Showers of Flowers

Spring gardeners have been busy these last couple of weeks, prepping garden beds for new seedlings, now that last frost dates have passed. For those of us still seeking horticultural inspiration for our garden patches and patios, tours of several unique and picturesque gardens in the Triangle take place in coming weeks and are worth exploration, even if your garden has been plotted already.

Duke Gardens – On going events through Spring and Summer

A visit to Sarah P. Duke Gardens any time of year is delightful, but especially during the peak of Spring.  Several events are scheduled throughout the year, including kid and family friendly events, early morning birding walks, gardening workshops, Japanese teas, yoga and the outdoor music series, Music in the Gardens.  Learn more about education and events for 2013 here.

Oakwood Garden Tour & Tea – May 4th & 5th, tea seating times at 10 am, noon, 2 pm & 4 pm

Tickets are now available online for the 24th annual Historic Oakwood Garden Tour & Victorian Tea, sponsored by the Oakwood Garden Club. Tour attendees are welcome to join the complimentary tea, then participate in the walking tour of homes in one of Raleigh’s historic downtown neighborhoods. Due to the popularity of this event, the “guest list” has been expanded to accommodate more than 250 guests this year. Teas are provided courtesy of Raleigh’s Tin Roof Teas, while the sweet and savory bites come courtesy of 18 Seaboard, Capital Club 16, The Market – Restaurant, Grocery and Catering, The Oakwood Inn, PieBird and Side Street Restaurant.  Tickets ($30) are available only in advance, online through May 1, or by contacting The Oakwood Inn at 919-832-9712.  Buying tickets sooner, rather than later, might be a good idea to secure your preferred seating time.

Photo courtesy of Anita P. B.
Photo courtesy of Anita P. B.

Juniper Level Botanic Gardens Spring Open House – May 3rd – 5th and 10th – 12th

On the eastern edge of Wake County, the curious gardener will find Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens.  The botanic garden area is a five acre display of more than 17,000 plant varieties, that doubles as a research and development facility, evaluating the adaptability of plants from outside the Southeastern United States to our climate and interactions with native species.  Plan to spend a few hours exploring the plant varieties in their various eco-systems.

Cary HerbFest – May 4th, 9 am – 3 pm

The Friends of Page-Walker Hotel celebrate the 4th Annual HerbFest at Page-Walker Arts & History Center this first weekend of May.  Festivities will begin the evening of May 3rd at 7 pm, with “The Tasteful Garden” featuring N&O columnists Debbie Moose and Carol Stein.  Guests are invited to join in a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception and book signing following the discussion. Tickets for the Friday evening event are $20 and can be purchased online, at the Cary Arts Center box office (Mon-Fri 10 am to 8 pm), or by calling 800-514-3849. Then, May 4th from 9 am to 3 pm (rain or shine) festival goers can tour the Page Educational Garden, watch herb cooking demonstrations, makes purchases from a variety of vendors, while gleaning bits of herb knowledge to apply to home gardens.

Hillsborough Spring Garden Tour – May 11th (10 am – 5 pm) and May 12th (1 pm – 5 pm) rain or shine

With a theme of “Gardens Then and Now”, the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough and the Hillsborough Garden Club sponsor this biannual tour of public and private gardens in and around lovely downtown Hillsborough. Special event include a plant sale, flower design and horticulture show, vintage car display, artists, vendors, and more. Tickets may be purchased ($20 per person, children 12 & younger are free) at the Hillsborough Visitors Center, located at 150 E. King St. in downtown Hillsborough, in advance (online) or the day of the tour.

JC Raulston Arboretum – Ongoing events year round

On the NC State campus, one could spend hours exploring the diverse themed gardens and structures found at JC Raulston Arboretum (and you can’t beat the free admission). Each April a springtime bird house competition whets the appetite. The first weekend in May sates the hunger with Triangle Bonsai Expo. Through October, free tours are available to the public each Sunday at 2 pm. And keep an eye on the events calendar for activities tailored for young, budding gardeners too.

Speaking of appetites and arboretums, the last Flora and Food Truck event at Fairview Garden Center is scheduled for May 11th, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at 8224 Holly Springs Rd. in Raleigh. Perfect timing to shop for the plants and posies your garden craves.

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