A combination of universities, private foundations and historic properties give garden lovers in Charlotte, North Carolina, a smorgasbord of options for flower-peeping. Several locations are home to glasshouse conservatories that feature tropical plants and orchids. A large collection and display of North Carolina native plants are a centerpiece at the University of North Carolina’s botanical garden, and the McGill Rose Garden features more than 200 types of roses.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Established in 1966 as a living laboratory resource for biology students and the public at large, the UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens is situated on 10 acres at the university. The gardens are divided into three areas, each with a different emphasis. The Van Landingham Glen is a 7-acre forest setting that focuses on plants that are native to the Carolinas. More than 1,000 species are represented, including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, rhododendrons and native azaleas. The 3-acre Susie Harwood Garden features winter-hardy ornamental plants, especially Asian and American natives that are available but widely under used. Finally, the eight-room McMillan Greenhouse hosts a huge collection of orchids, succulents, carnivorous plants and other tropical plants.
9201 University City Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28223-0001 (704) 687-2364
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
A relatively new addition to the Charlotte plant scene, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is in the midst of a 50-year master plan development that began with the garden’s foundation in 1996. Stowe Botanical Garden is home to one of the state’s first orchid-only glasshouse conservatories, which features an annual fund-raiser plant sale. The gardens also feature a traditional cottage garden, crepe myrtle grove, woodland trail, boxwood gardens, and themed areas centered around large decorative fountains.
6500 S. New Hope Road Belmont, NC 28012 (704) 825-4490
McGill Rose Garden
The McGill Rose Garden had inauspicious beginnings in 1950 as a coal yard. Helen McGill, whose husband Henry had purchased the property from a coal company, began planting rose bushes to make the site more attractive and continued doing so for three decades. The garden opened to the public on Mother’s Day in 1967. In 1998, the gardens were declared an “All-America Rose Selections” public garden, and today the garden features over 200 individual varieties of roses.
940 N. Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28206 (704) 333-6497
Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary
Boxwood gardens and areas with a variety of blooming plants and shrubs were designed by the garden’s original owners specifically to attract birds, hence the name “Wing Haven.” Located near the downtown area of Charlotte, Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary is a 3-acre estate founded in 1927 and enclosed on all sides by a brick wall. The property opened to the public in 1970 and features a formal front flower garden with a sundial, an herb garden, frog pond, fountains, statuary and areas designed to sit and observe wildlife.
248 Ridgewood Ave. Charlotte, NC 28209 (704) 331-0664
Historic Rosedale Plantation
Built just after the turn of the 19th century, Rosedale is notable for its formal English boxwood gardens and beds planted flowers that bloom mainly in the spring, as was customary for gardens of that time. The plantation is also home to North Carolina’s largest specimens of several tree species, including green ash and swamp chestnut oak, as well as state-recognized Osage orange, sassafras, tulip tree and oriental arborvitae.
3427 N. Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28206 (704) 335-0325