Garden Conservancy's Open Days

Sponsored by the Garden Conservancy and the JC Raulston Arboretum

  • Saturday, September 20, 2008 – 9:00 am5:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 21, 2008 – 12:00 pm5:00 pm

Featuring the gardens of Frank and Judy Harmon, Ted and Karen Harris, Jean and Lawrence Shuping, Jere Stevens, Peggy Titus, and Denny and Georgina Werner.

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program comes to Raleigh, North Carolina in September, featuring six private gardens to visit on Saturday, September 20, 2008 (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM) and Sunday, September 21, 2008 (12:00 PM to 5:00 PM).

A portion of the proceeds from the weekend will benefit the JC Raulston Arboretum, a working research and teaching garden of NC State.

Visitors may start the tour on either day at the JC Raulston Arboretum at 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh, where discount admission tickets will be sold (6 tickets for $25.00). Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required. Call (888) 842-2442 or visit for more information. For local ticket information, please contact Anne Porter at the JC Raulston Arboretum at or (919) 513-3826.

The Open Days gardens in Raleigh are featured in the 2008 Open Days Directory, which includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions written by garden owners. The national edition includes garden listings in 16 states and costs $20.45, including shipping. The South edition costs $6.95, and features gardens in Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. Call the Garden Conservancy toll-free at (888) 842-2442 to order with a Visa or MasterCard, or send a check or money order to: the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 219, Cold Spring, NY, 10516. Discount admission tickets are available through advanced mail order.

Featured Gardens

The tour features the following spectacular gardens:

Judy and Frank Harmon

The Harmons' house and garden were designed as two halves of a whole, as equal parts of the living experience. To protect the roots of the mature oaks and mulberry trees that shade the house's many windows, the house rests on concrete piers. Walls and fences provide privacy and are the perfect foil for climbing vines. The gardens' curvilinear design creates a paisley of sunny, open spaces and dense, shaded foliage. Carefully planted to offer year-round enjoyment, the gardens juxtapose activity and repose, light and shadow.

Jean and Lawrence Shuping

As your journey begins through the front natural area, the classic Georgian manor emerges surrounded by redbud, dogwoods, and stately magnolias. After a visit to the cistern in the gated courtyard, stroll to the piazza and quatrefoil fountain on the lower level. As you enter the upper level, take the opportunity to admire the cloud-pruned boulevard cypress flanking the steps. There are many unique treasures to discover as you explore the rooms in this three acre garden.

Ted and Karen Harris

Gently curving and shaded walkways lead our visitors to a variety of private and restful retreats throughout the garden. Designed and developed by Karen and Ted Harris over the last sixteen years, this two-plus-acre informal and serene garden features a natural stream and two stocked ponds, adorned with water lilies, irises, and rushes. The connecting paths are draped by mature trees intermingled with evergreens, Japanese maples, oakleaf hydrangeas, native magnolias, and a variety of ferns. The relaxing sound of a waterfall and the presence of abundant wildlife invite the visitor to sit and relax.

Peggy Titus

The visitor will experience a shady, quarter acre sanctuary featuring stone and gravel paths, stone-faced spill ponds, a stone-edged pond with a three-tier waterfall and an abundance of colorful fish, an octagon shaped gazebo on stilts and a vine-covered pergola with a crystal chandelier and seating for twelve. Plantings include more than 300 specimens, including mature trees, shrubs, perennials, hostas, ferns, and numerous exotic plants from the Far East.

Jere and Richard Stevens

This magnificent garden, situated along Lake Lochmere, is nestled among native trees. The sloped front lawn draws you into a formal symmetrical brick courtyard perfumed with roses and clematis. Pruned boxwood, topiary, and teak benches lend an English touch. Wide brick paths, leads the visitor past an impressive beech tree and a soothing water feature to an inviting lakeside gazebo. The nearby dock affords views of white swan and the well stocked lake. A green expanse of lawn complements the colorful backyard garden beds full of perennials and flowering shrubs. An expansive lakeside viewing deck provides the opportunity to pause and survey the entire garden.

Denny and Georgina Werner

This informal collector's garden features a 2,800-square-foot herbaceous perennial border, colorful annual plantings surrounding an in-ground pool, a gazebo surrounded by a large planting of herbaceous perennials and shrubs, natural areas with mixed shrub and tree plantings, and foundation plantings featuring a diversity of small trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and ferns.

The Garden Conservancy introduced the Open Days Program in 1995 as a means of introducing the public to gardening, providing easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and proving that exceptional American gardens are still being created. The Open Days Program is America's only national private garden-visiting program, and is made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers nationwide. Visit the Garden Conservancy and its Open Days Program online.

Admission to each garden is $5.00 per person. Discount ticket books (six tickets for $25.00) are available in advance at the Arboretum or through the Garden Conservancy at (888) 842-2442 or Tickets are also available at each garden during the event.
No reservations required, but tickets will be available prior to the event.
Six gardens in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Two different maps are available. Participants who'd like to customize their own map can use the interactive Google map. A printable map is also available.
Free parking is available at each of the gardens.
Call (888) 842-2442 or visit for more information. For local ticket information, contact Anne Porter at or (919) 513-3826.