Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Duke Gardens: A Student's Eye View

Blooming Now at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Photos and text by Lauren Sims

Duke Gardens Curators Jason Holmes and Mike Owens and horticulturist Tamara Kilbane all agree that the camellias are not to be missed right now at Duke Gardens. The “Maiden’s Blush” camellias that line the Perennial Allee are in full bloom. Their pale pink blossoms reach nearly 15 feet in height, and their spicy fragrance fills the air. It is a sight to behold!

In the next few days, you can also catch a glimpse of the ginkgo biloba in all its glory. Its leaves are a brilliant shade of yellow, which looks spectacular against a deep Carolina sky. But hurry on over to take your pictures—in just a matter of days the show will be over and it will drop all its leaves into a thick golden blanket on the grass.

Along with the ginkgo, you will want to wander around and take in the colors of the rest of the fall foliage, Jason says.

“We have a lot of the wonderful southern sugar maples, which are in full bright yellow-to-golden color right now," he says. "The sourwoods are a brilliant red, a lot of the red maples are really turning their fall colors, and the pin oaks are brilliant burgundy red right now.”

The Gardens also boasts a wide variety of grasses and evergreens, as well as a lovely collection of pansies, which lend some deeper shades to the color palette. And as the leaves fade and fall, the new berries on the winter hollies will stand out even more.

Come visit us and enjoy the colors, and the brisk fall weather for yourself.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens creates and nurtures an environment in the heart of Duke University for learning, inspiration and enjoyment through excellence in horticulture. The Gardens is at 420 Anderson St. in Durham.

Lauren Sims is a graduate student at Duke Divinity School and a work-study assistant at Duke Gardens.

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