The Persian Garden Style was the inspiration for the design and theme of the Paradise Garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Persian gardens bring pleasure by engaging the five physical senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, in addition to offering a place of retreat from the harshness of the day. In this garden there are colorful plants to delight the eyes; fruit, berries, and herbs to tantalize taste buds; a dancing fountain to provide music for the ears; plant textures and the cool feel of water to stimulate touch; and many fragrances that abound here. The fountain room is a popular area to escape and relax. It is graced with a mosaic tile floor representing the four seasons and is surrounded with woven panels of split bamboo.
The Paradise Garden was originally designed and built as the centerpiece garden for the 1994 Raleigh Home and Garden Show in the Civic Center. Professor Will Hooker designed the garden utilizing sacred geometry in lying out the typically bilateral symmetrical garden. The installation of the garden was completed at the JCRA in 1996, and as any garden, continues to be a work in progress.
The Paradise Garden has many plants and features that engage the five physical senses including:
- Harry Lauder's walkingstick – Corylus avellana 'Contorta'
- thornless Chinese date – Ziziphus jujuba 'Inermis'
- hosta – Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
- lemon verbena – Aloysia triphylla