Garden Conservancy's Open Days

Maps Available

Sponsored by the JC Raulston Arboretum

  • Friday, May 16, 2014 – 9:00 am4:00 pm – Wake Forest and Raleigh Gardens
  • Saturday, May 17, 2014 – 9:00 am5:00 pm – All Gardens
  • Sunday, May 18, 2014 – 10:00 am4:00 pm – Cary and Raleigh Gardens

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program comes to Raleigh, North Carolina, in May and September this year. This spring's tour features the gardens of Beth and Juan Jimenez, Debra and Marty Ludas, Jean and Wayne Mitchell, Sandy and Ewell Morgan, Jean and Lawrence Shuping, Connie Sithes, and Kathleen and Walt Thompson.

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

Friday, May 16 – 9:00 am–4:00 pm
Saturday, May 17 9:00 am–5:00 pm

The Yoga Garden

The Yoga Garden

Connie Sithes
7409 Cobble Glen Court
Wake Forest, NC

The Yoga Garden is a sanctuary for the soul. It embodies the essence of nature and wildlife in all of her many forms. A feast for all of your senses with splashes of subtle and vibrant colors, textures, scents, and sounds. An inviting space that allows one to connect not only to all of life that surrounds you but to become a vital part of the all encompassing energy or breath of life—to surrender and release and let go.

The garden is abundant with plants that require minimal care and flourish with the water and food that Mother Nature provides. There are many water features that invite in all kinds of wildlife from frogs, to skinks, birds, and deer. Many of the structures were built with foundation stones from an old abandoned home site. These steps and many walls try to contain the plantings. After 20 years of learning what does and does not work, a very inviting space has been created that nurtures and caresses our inner being and reconnects us to our very primal essence.

The Yoga Garden

The Century Garden

Marty and Debbie Ludas
112 North Avenue
Wake Forest, NC

The Century Garden was named and opened to the public in 2007 as part of Wake Forest 's centennial celebration. The property is on the historic registry and features a landscape design that accommodates both an 1876 Victorian frame house with three side porches and a two-story dry goods store constructed in 1897. The design includes a curving gravel walkway that winds around both buildings and connects with sidewalks on North Avenue and North Main Street enabling visitors to walk, pause, and scan the shared views of the historic district. The traditional Victorian theme features carefully planned sightlines from both building 's inside windows, a restored iron fence and a focal-point rain garden with Louisiana swamp iris and other bog-loving plants. Underground cisterns distribute rainwater from the building 's roofs and swales and berms provide vertical interest to the grounds, and importantly, prevent rainwater from running off too quickly.

Challenges include city deer that reside in the historic district, resident bunnies, annoying squirrels, and stilt grass. Last year, we transitioned one area from deep shade to full sun after a pair of 130 year old oaks planted by the original owner were removed. Small problems like this are balanced out by the amazing collection of birds that sing and enjoy our two feeders and four birdbaths.

The Yoga Garden

Jimenez Garden

Beth and Juan Jimenez
3101 Greenville Loop Road
Wake Forest, NC

This one acre garden in a suburban setting was begun 22 years ago and continues to be a work in progress. Trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, ground covers, and bulbs are interwoven to create year-round interest and pleasure.

The sunny front yard has matured into a collection of conifers and Japanese maples, mostly dwarfs and miniatures as well as shrubs, ground covers, and perennials, many of which came from the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh where Beth is an active volunteer. Several groupings of hypertufa troughs made by Beth and her business partner of Lasting Impressions are planted with miniature conifers and other small plants which spend their first few years being protected before going out into the garden to fend for themselves.

The shadier back garden consists of a hellebore walk through native hardwoods, conifers and Japanese maples, ferns, hostas, and flowering shrubs all connected by a series of mulched paths.

A small, heated hobby greenhouse where potted tropical and tender perennials are stored during the winter months is where Beth enjoys spending time.

Juan, a part-time potter and full-time putterer, raises vegetables in a small raised bed located near his pottery studio in the back.

Visitors will notice cast concrete leaves, concrete spheres of all sizes, and ceramic statuary done by the owners scattered throughout the garden.

The Yoga Garden

The Shuping Garden

Jean and Lawrence Shuping
2441 West Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC

Making its Open Days spring debut, the Shuping garden strikes a delightful balance of grandeur and simplicity. As you enter through the front natural area, the classic Georgian manor emerges surrounded by redbuds, dogwoods, and stately magnolias. Visit the cistern in the gated courtyard and then stroll to the piazza and quatrefoil fountain on the garden 's lower level. As you transition to the upper level, seize the opportunity to admire the cloud-pruned Boulevard cypress flanking the steps. Throughout the three acres, plant collections are specifically selected for color and texture, providing year-round interest.

Saturday May 17 – 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Sunday May 18 – 10:00 am–4:00 pm

The Yoga Garden

My Fairy Garden in the Woods

Jean and Wayne Mitchell
1002 Vickie Drive
Cary, NC

Long ago, neighborhood children named my acre and a half woodland garden, "My Fairy Garden in the Woods." An antique wrought iron gate welcomes as you enter into native sassafras, bower, and hydrangea lined paths leading to a three-tiered water fountain. Further on, a white, Victorian-style gazebo beckons to sit a spell and listen. A magnificent climbing hydrangea scrambles to the top of a huge tulip poplar. Many collector shade plants line meandering paths that lead to a crooked Straight Creek. A glade of native fringe trees winds to the side. Many rare and unusual specimen trees, shrubs, and perennials acquired from the JC Raulston Arboretum share beds with antiques cleverly placed along paths in this charming collector 's garden.

The Yoga Garden

The Thompson Garden

Walter and Kathleen Thompson
119 Ravenna Way
Cary, NC

The beauty of this suburban garden begins at street side where a path beacons you to enter and enjoy a preview of the abundant plantings that follow. The front garden is a delight of shrubs and perennials showcasing a spectacular threadleaf 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. Beds, with ever shrinking lawn areas, are richly planted with perennials featuring a mix of native and specialty plants including tropicals, all in perfect harmony in both shade and sun. A number of the plants are rare and unusual plants collected and propagated at the JC Raulston Arboretum. 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 serendipity and discovery of plants, woods, and water. Another Open Days spring debut.

The Yoga Garden

Sandy and Ewell Morgan's Garden

Sandy and Ewell Morgan
1501 Westhaven Drive
Raleigh, NC

Enter our garden through the charming arbor draped in fragrant Confederate jessamine. Primarily a shade garden, it's been described as refreshingly cool, pristine, and serene. Paths throughout the garden, made of different materials, have benches and a hammock along the way to relax.

With a wide variety of labeled plants, highlights include the hardscapes built by Ewell—an arbor, fences, a garden mirror, and a wooden walkway designed to divert drainage problems.

Get a bird's eye view of the garden from the deck and enjoy the upper screen porch. The lower screen porch, which is cool in the summer and bug free, has a potting bench and a homemade cabinet with gardening supplies.

Admission is $7.00 per garden. Ticket books (six tickets) are available at the JC Raulston Arboretum through May 16 for $35.00. Individual tickets and ticket books will be available at each garden during the event.
No reservations required, but tickets will be available prior to the event.
Seven gardens in Raleigh, Cary, and Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Print the downloadable maps (northern and southern gardens). Or, use your GPS and the addresses provided in the announcement.
Free parking is available at each of the gardens.
Contact Faye Koonce at (919) 513-7457 or for more details or ticket information.