Garden Conservancy's Open Days

Sponsored by the JC Raulston Arboretum

  • Saturday, September 15, 2012 – 9:00 am5:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 16, 2012 – 12:00 pm5:00 pm

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program comes to Raleigh, North Carolina, in September. This year's tour features the gardens of Georgina and Denny Werner, Connie and Jim Maynard, Jim and Barbara Goodmon, Laurie and John Sorge, Shane and Tomra Bazer, and the Umstead Hotel and Spa.

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 (six 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.

Featured Gardens

Georgina and Denny Werner
5901 Fordland Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606

The Werner Garden

This informal collector's garden features a 2,800-square-foot herbaceous perennial border, colorful annual plantings surrounding an inground 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 variety of small trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and ferns. Georgina and Denny have added many new features since the last time their garden was featured.

Connie and Jim Maynard
2612 Lakeview Drive Raleigh, NC 27609

The Maynard Garden

Meandering stone steps entice you to traverse a steep grade, where classic European craftsmanship mingles with Eastern influences. Layers of terraced gardens and paths lead past a peaceful reflecting pool fed by a renewing waterfall to the top of the hill. Here, a pagoda provides a peaceful refuge with a view overlooking the water features and lower gardens and terraces. Beyond the pagoda, several intimate and hidden gardens feature obscure plant cultivars and an eclectic collection of sculpture. Further exploration reveals a whole new, large, open garden. At the top of the hill, past an array of roses, is a vine-covered pergola with wide stone steps. At the bottom of the steps, stone paths radiate from the center of an oval shaped parterre planted with various herbs, boxwood, and a multitude of flowering plants. A large stone moon gate creates a breathtaking focal point at the far end. A meditation garden and whimsical children's playhouse add interest to this unique garden.

Jim and Barbara Goodmon
719 Lakestone Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609

Quarry Hill

Nestled in a serene woodland setting of mature oaks, pines, and maples, Quarry Hill captures the eye with its traditional roots and delightful garden accents. A kitchen garden, a conifer collection, and a whimsical knot garden feature accents such as a Victorian birdhouse, gazing and witch balls that fancifully dangle from a maple tree, and an original London phone booth! Natural and stone pathways meander through heirloom azaleas and tropicals—the exotic and unusual are sprinkled throughout the garden. Sounds of the four-tiered Charleston-style fountain can be heard on the stone patio and throughout the lower garden. Overlooking a peaceful lake, native ferns, wildflowers, and many varieties of perennials are showcased and ensure constant color and interest in this beautiful city garden.

Laurie and John Sorge
5505 Den Heider Way, Raleigh, NC 27606

The Sorge Garden

There is something for everyone at the Sorge Garden. From an unusual and private front yard garden filled with trees and shrubs, a rose arbor, and a stone walkway that leads to raised vegetable beds, grape arbors, and a greenhouse. Winding stone paths beckon visitors through two acres of woodlands filled with Japanese maples, camellias, azaleas, and hydrangeas. Along the way, visitors will encounter a circular maze of dwarf ligustrum and yew and numerous spots to sit or swing. Be sure to visit the Mosaics Gone Wild wall and arbor where Yoda watches over the animals of North Carolina. The winding paths converge and visitors will find themselves at a large pond where they can sit in the gazebo and enjoy a little piece of North Carolina heaven.

Shane and Tomra Bazer
3809 Sparrow Pond Lane, Raleigh, NC 27606

The Gardens of Ashland Hall

A stunning one-acre botanical feast, the Gardens of Ashland Hall is a delightful mix of several garden styles. Among the garden rooms are the cutting garden, the cottage garden, the English garden designed around the unique heart-shaped lawn, and an impressive tropical garden, complete with a Tiki hut. Bring your camera or your easel, as the gardens are full of fabulous views around every corner.

Courtesy of Leah Goodnight
100 Woodland Pond Drive, Cary, NC 27513

The Umstead Hotel and Spa Garden

The Umstead uses native North Carolina species to create a sense of place reflective of nearby Umstead State Park. The understated elegance of the Umstead is enhanced by gardens containing flowering plants in cool shades, soft blue foliage of 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona cypress and weeping blue Atlas cedars, and restful sounds of water features. Select exotic species enhance the scenery with their unique shapes and colors as they are seamlessly woven into the relaxed landscape design. The path around the three-acre lake behind the hotel includes a beautiful butterfly garden and thriving wetland environment.

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 is $5.00 per garden, or get tickets six for $25.00 in advance at the JC Raulston Arboretum or at the gardens during the Open Days. No reservations required.
No reservations required, but tickets will be available prior to the event.
Six gardens in Raleigh and Cary, North Carolina.
Participants who'd like to customize their own map can use an interactive Google map. Printable driving directions (removed) are 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.