Garden Conservancy's Open Days

Sponsored by the JC Raulston Arboretum

  • Saturday, September 17, 2011 – 9:00 am5:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 18, 2011 – 12:00 pm5:00 pm

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program features five private gardens to visit in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 17 and 18, 2011.

A portion of the proceeds from the weekend garden tours will benefit the JC Raulston Arboretum, a nationally acclaimed, public, research, and teaching garden that is a part of NC State University.

Visitors may begin the tour on either day at any of the gardens. Open Days are rain or shine garden tours and no reservations are required. To download a tour map, please check below under "Directions." Visit for more information about the Open Days Program. If you have questions regarding the local garden tours, contact Anne Porter at the JC Raulston Arboretum at or (919) 513-3826.

Featured Gardens

English Garden—Woodland Paradise
C. J. Dykes
105 Oakmist Drive
Cary, NC 27513

The gardens were started in 1992 with a handful of perennials from C. J.'s former house. It is now a mixture of roses, perennials, palms, tropicals, and a woodland shade garden. The front gardens consist of a formal rose garden, a mixed shrub garden, and a formal French parterre. The back has a dense shade garden under the deck, a banana grove, three mixed English-style perennial gardens, and a lower semi-shaded woodland trail. There is probably more genera and species than most people would ever see except maybe in an arboretum or botanical garden. The gardens gained the honor of being named a Certified Wildlife Habitat™ by the National Wildlife Federation in 2010.

Directions: Take I-40 to Harrison Avenue. Go to Cary Parkway and turn right. Go to Thorpe Drive and turn left. Take second left onto Rushingwater Drive. Turn right onto Oakmist Drive and go to third house on left. Please park on street.

Red Door Farm
Bob and Linda Hatcher
4114 Carpenter Pond Road
Durham, NC 27703

This six-acre garden was started in 2003 from an open field and pine woods. It has multiple garden rooms, a small scuppernong vineyard, a garden pavilion, two ponds, and a two-acre pasture with belted Galloway cattle. A wide range of plantings are here, including annuals and perennials as well as a large cross-section of ornamental grasses. Almost eighty roses are also planted—Knock Out™ roses, R. rugosa, and David Austin English roses. A few chickens and runner ducks complete the ferme ornée picture.

Directions: Take Highway 70 West to Briarcreek Parkway. Turn right, then right onto ACC Boulevard. Turn left onto Mount Herman Road and then left onto Carpenter Pond Road 0.4 miles on right.

The Chalmers Cottage Garden
Alta Chalmers
103 Pasquotank Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609

This is a small English-style garden, surrounding a cottage-style house. There are brick driveways and walkways framed by English boxwoods and dry stone "dykes" encircling all of the planting areas in the front and back yards. There are topiary and sculptured shrubs with a background of a variety of trees with intersecting foliage and flowering plants. There is a rose garden with David Austin English roses. Wooden fences enclose the gardens. There are benches and jasmine and rose-covered trellises. The gardens include hydrangeas, peonies, ferns, magnolias, azaleas, Japanese maples, hardy orange, geraniums, petunias, camellias, and a scattering of whimsical ornaments. In the back is a koi pond with water lilies and a waterfall. There is an herb garden, as well as space for vegetables. Perennial and annual flowers bloom underneath bird feeders. There is a small greenhouse, a garden house, and composting area. Other plantings include stephanotis vine, crape myrtles, hellebores, mandevilla, holly trees (and shrubs), Japanese quince, phlox, hibiscus, begonias, wandering Jew, calla lilies, blackberry lilies, sedum, shasta daisies, Jerusalem sage, feverfew, Chinese star jasmine, impatiens, ageratum, arborvitae, cedars, beautyberry, dogwood, cypress, gardenia, mahonia, cherries, and fig.

Directions: From Glenwood Avenue turn onto Pasquotank Drive. Garden is at second house on left.

City Courtyard Garden
Barbara and Loren Kennedy
1108 Harp Street
Raleigh, NC 27604

This garden demonstrates that one can do a lot with a small space. A paved patio with a screened in porch is the framework for a large variety of small trees, shrubs, perennials, and containers that make the garden feel lush and secluded. The garden faces south which allows flowers to bloom but a challenge during the summer heat. Since the house is close to the sidewalk, the front garden is only about four feet wide but has a variety of small evergreens and shrubs that give the feel of a dense garden. Potted plants line the steps and small front entry. The north side has a narrow strip where hostas, ferns, and other shade plants like to cool off.

Directions: From I-40 East, take Exit 289/Wade Avenue. Go 6 miles to Glenwood Avenue exit on right. At light, turn right onto Glenwood Avenue. Go 0.5 mile to Peace Street. Turn left and go 0.5 mile to Halifax Avenue. Turn left and go 0.5 mile to Cedar Street. Turn right and go two blocks to Harp Street. Number 1108 is first on left.

Freeman/Byrd Garden
Wayne Freeman and Cronin Byrd
300 Ramblewood Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609

Reminiscent of an old English garden, the Freeman/Byrd garden is a hidden paradise within the Beltline of Raleigh. Heirloom plantings, procured from generations of older gardeners dominate the beds. Although less than ten years in the making, this garden seems to have grown from antiquity. Winding paths lead you to four fish ponds, a garden house, a greenhouse, several secluded decks, and a chicken house of unexpected elegance housing heirloom breeds. The garden is dotted with English boxwoods and looming pines that hover like stately sentinels. Visitors are greeted by a lovely shade garden that leads you to dripping fountains and the sounds of flowing waters. This garden provides a quite solace for friends and visitors all throughout the year.

Directions: From the Beltline, take I-440 to Exit 8B/Six Forks Road North. Turn left onto Lassiter Mill Road at North Hills. Cross the Beltline and take the second left onto Ramblewood Drive.

From downtown, take Glenwood Avenue north. Veer right onto St. Mary's Street North. St. Mary's changes to Lassiter Mill Road at White Oak Road/Scotland Street. Turn right onto Ramblewood Drive before crossing over I-440 at North Hills.

Open Days Directory

The Raleigh Open Days gardens are featured in the 2011 Open Days Directory, which includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions written by garden owners. The directory contains a full listing of all 2011 Open Days private gardens throughout the U.S., 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 $21.95 which includes shipping. (Directories are not sold at the JC Raulston Arboretum.)

How Are Future Gardens Selected?

Gardens must be at least two years old, exhibit a reasonable standard of maintenance, and possess one or more of the following characteristics:

Unity and harmony in the design

Strong and distinctive elements within the design

Appropriateness of the design in relation to the setting and surrounding landscape

Particularly effective or innovative use of the site or plantings

Interesting and/or unusual collection of plants

Aesthetic groupings of plants

Unique intermingling of plants and/or colors, textures, etc.

Aspects that educate, enlighten, and inspire the visitor

Ecologically sound design and maintenance techniques

In order to continue the program we need your help. If you would like to nominate your garden or a friend 's garden for a future Garden Conservancy's Open Days, please contact Anne Porter at (919) 513-3826 or

Admission to each private garden is $5, payable at each location. Discount ticket books (six tickets for $25.00) are available in advance through the Garden Conservancy at (888) 842-2442 or
No reservations required, but tickets will be available prior to the event.
Five 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.