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Plan a Visit to the Best Gardens in the South

Sara P. Duke Gardens, Cheekwood, Callaway Gardens, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens – year-round inspiration and beauty in the south.

Recently I got to visit my sister and her precious kiddos in North Carolina and had such a wonderful visit! While we were in Apex, just outside of Raleigh, we were looking for something fun to do for the day to spend some time outdoors. I have heard of the Sara P. Duke gardens in Durham, NC and they sure did not disappoint! The gardens were full of annual plantings, container gardens, gorgeous labyrinths, and beautiful walkways. It was stunning and such a must see if you are in the area!

The best part is, the gardens are free to visit! When you first pull up there is a parking lot to your left and across the street is a main event center. Lots of families were there for the day enjoying the gardens and talking strolls, but it wasn’t overcrowded at all! The gardens have a store called the Terrace Shop with all kinds of garden gifts and cool finds and also resources to share the history of the gardens. We spent a couple of hours visiting but the gardens do also have a café if you want to spend the whole day!

One of the main reasons I like to go to gardens during this time of year is because this weather can be so stressful on your garden. I like to see what plants large gardens feature that can take the heat. The day we went it was in the 90’s so there were a number of plants in direct sun. But they also boast a number of shaded walkways with plants growing that cannot take the intense heat. They keep the gardens fresh with new annual color around the calendar which is a refreshing sight to take in. So many yellows and burgundy flowers were in bloom while we were there! If you’re planning to visit Sara P Duke Gardens – they are having a plant sale on September 28 that you will not want to miss!

One of the main reasons I like to go to gardens during this time of year is because this weather can be so stressful on your garden. I like to see what plants large gardens feature that can take the heat. The day we went it was in the 90’s so there were a number of plants in direct sun. But they also boast a number of shaded walkways with plants growing that cannot take the intense heat. They keep the gardens fresh with new annual color around the calendar which is a refreshing sight to take in. So many yellows and burgundy flowers were in bloom while we were there! If you’re planning to visit Sara P Duke Gardens – they are having a plant sale on September 28 that you will not want to miss!

Local gardens are a great way to breathe in the inspiration of plants, eat a lovely meal amongst beautiful blooms, or spend time with family. Here are 3 other gardens that are sure to deliver some beauty and inspiration and are worth a visit if you find yourself in the area:

Callaway Resort and Gardens – Pine Mountain, Georgia

Take in the vibrant blossoms of Spring on over 2,500 acres, filled with hiking and bike trails and world-class golf. This is a resort with all the amenities including a spa and the world’s largest man-made white sand beach. For fall they offer wildlife experiences and during the holidays they have a National Geographic-acclaimed light display. Tickets to visit the gardens start at $14.

Atlanta Botanical Garden – Atlanta, Georgia and Gainesville, Georgia

Beyond beauty, Atlanta Botanical Gardens has an incredible series of classes: Growing Culinary Herbs, Plan Your Autumn Veggie Garden, and Orchids for Beginners just to name a few. This is a beautiful place to gain some garden inspiration, watch a garden concert or enjoy their “Cocktails in the Garden” (Atlanta) or “Wine in the Woodlands” (Gainesville). Their kid programs are also great if you are bringing family along. Tickets start at $19

Cheekwood Garden – Nashville, Tennessee

Built in 1929, the 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate it’s a fine example of an American Country Place Era estate. Converted into a museum of art and botanical garden in 1960, Cheekwood has over 150,000 blooming bulbs in the spring to one million holiday lights in the winter. Make sure to check their calendar for incredible events and installations. Bring a picnic and sprawl out on the beautiful grounds or eat at their quaint Cafe 29 with a beautiful view. Entry tickets start at $18.

Which is your favorite garden to draw inspiration or to visit? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook and Instagram at @carmenjohnstongardens. Share this post with a loved one or garden club friend that you want to go on a garden tour with! What fun memories. If you are looking for a few more of my favorite gardens check out my blog post on a few of my other favorite gardens to visit by clicking here.

As always, thank you for reading and gardening with me!