Garden Conservancy's Open Days

  • Saturday, September 19, 2009 – 9:00 am5:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 20, 2009 – 12:00 pm5:00 pm

Featuring the gardens of Phil Abbott and Jayme Bednarczyk, Jeff Bottoms and John Martin, Jim and Sharon Bright, Julia Kornegay and Alfredo Escobar, David Philbrook and Helen Yoest, and Kathleen and Walt Thompson.

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program comes to Raleigh, North Carolina in September, featuring six private gardens to visit on Saturday, September 19, 2009 (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM) and Sunday, September 20, 2009 (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 University.

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 2009 Open Days Directory, which includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions written by garden owners. The Directory contains a full listing of all private gardens in the 2009 Open Days program, plus one free admission ticket redeemable at any private garden during an Open Day. 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. The cost is $21.94 which includes shipping. Discount admission tickets are available through advanced mail order.

Featured Gardens

The tour features the following spectacular gardens:

Phil Abbott and Jayme Bednarczyk
1025 Traders Trail, Wake Forest

Hopeful dreams entwined with patience and time,
Cherry trees bloom amidst whispering pines.
A hand-built home grew among fruitful trees,
Passive solar sited to capture the breeze.
Upon stone walls climbing roses scramble,
Interlaced clematis delight and ramble.
A south-facing room in need of a view,
To embrace the sunlight—geothermal too.
After clearing some pines, light and energy found,
Now a beautiful lake where habitat abounds.
Entwined gardens with curvilinear walls,
Terraced and planted, space to gather for all.
Plants for food, plants for shelter,
Plants for fragrance, interwoven color with texture.
Pathways meander, through a garden of splendor,
Hearts and souls are nourished and remember.
Villa and garden—with European appeal,
Hand-built passion entwined—the dream revealed.

Falls Revival
Jeff Bottoms and John Martin
12160 Falls of Neuse Road, Wake Forest

A historic valley provides the setting for this garden, overlooking a hillside cemetery, a quaint little church, and a cluster of old millhouses. Mature trees, remnant vineyards and orchards, heirloom shrubs, and a casual cottage style all help to anchor this garden in that nostalgic world. A backyard nursery, boasting a wide range of exotic and unusual plants, adds an unusual twist; here is a collector's garden with traditional roots but with a fresh eye for the new and different, fending for itself against modern-day environmental pressures.

Rose Cottage
Jim and Sharon Bright
115 N. Bloodworth Street, Raleigh

Rose Cottage is an intimate city garden located in Raleigh's downtown historic district. The gardens arose out of an old graveled parking lot. This once barren spot has been transformed into a lush and tranquil oasis of color and fragrance. It abounds with a large variety of plants. The garden setting includes perennial beds, a parterre filled with a annuals, a pergola draped in wisteria, a woodland garden, raised vegetable beds, a secret garden, and a compost operation. The latest addition is a garden cottage, as charming as it is useful.

The Paisley Garden
Julia Kornegay and Alfredo Escobar
5237 Leiden Lane, Raleigh

Avid do-it-yourselfers, Julia and Alfredo's one-acre garden reflects their passion for plant collections displayed in a paisley pattern of color and whim that is still evolving. In the heart of the garden is a stone-bordered pond with a stream and waterfall. Gentle paths meander through woodlands and sunny spaces. A vine-covered arbor provides a restful sitting area. In the front garden, a new vegetable garden greets visitors. A propagation greenhouse, shed, potting bench, and compost bins are located in the garden nursery.

Helen's Haven
David Philbrook and Helen Yoest
3412 Yelverton Circle, Raleigh

Low boxwood hedges are used to create a formal atmosphere to complement the formal architecture of this Georgian Colonial style home. Within these hedges are informal plantings of perennials and annuals to attract butterflies, birds, and bees. Helen's Haven is a certified wildlife habitat and a certified Monarch Watch Station. Using water-wise design principles and watered with harvested rain, this organic garden demonstrates good environmental practices, resulting in a colorful, lush garden. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, watching the butterflies alight and seeing enough birds to delight.

The Thompson Garden
Kathleen and Walt Thompson
119 Ravenna Way, Cary

The beauty of this suburban garden begins at street side where a path beckons you to enter and share in this preview of the abundant plantings that follow. The front garden is a delight of shrubs and perennials, showcasing a spectacular thread leaf Japanese maple. Upon entering the brick walkway at the arbor, you view a gently sloping garden with curved borders and pathways outlined with recycled concrete. These recycled concrete borders and retaining walls are consistent throughout the garden. Beds are richly planted with perennials, featuring a mix of native and specialty plants, including tropicals, all in perfect harmony. A small pond can be found along the network of twisting trails that lead through the woods to a community lake. Each area of this garden will elicit a sense of discovery and serendipity in plants, woods, and water.

Pi Alpha Xi Plant Sale

September 19, 2009 (Saturday) – 8:00 AM-4:00 PM
September 20, 2009 (Sunday) – 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

The Pi Alpha Xi Plant Sale at the JCRA is happening the same weekend. September 19 and 20 is shaping up to be great weekend to be inspired by lovely gardens and buy plants.

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.