Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heat Wave! Stay Cool at Duke Gardens

The Blomquist Garden of Native Plants (gray area on the south side) and the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum (red area on the north side) are the shadiest areas of Duke Gardens.

By Sarah Leach Smith
Visitor Service Coordinator

It's that time again -- a sweltering mid-summer heat index is a daily occurrence and lower temperatures are nowhere in sight. It also happens to be an excellent time to visit Duke Gardens -- hibiscus, crape myrtle, black-eyed Susan and cardinal flower are all in full bloom.

Strawflowers in the Discovery Garden. Photo by Sue Lannon.
You can have a pleasant and comfortable experience at Duke Gardens this summer with a little bit of planning ahead. Below are some things to keep in mind before you arrive:
  • Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing made with a natural fiber such as cotton to help you stay cool.
  • Wear a hat at all times to shade your face and protect your skin from the sun. A parasol is also a good idea if you don't like wearing hats.
  • Drink plenty of water -- 4 ounces for every 30 minutes outside is a good goal to aim for. Bring a water bottle with you to the Gardens and refill it at one of our water fountains outdoors or in the Doris Duke Center. See our heat advisory map for water fountain locations. 
Sun shining in the Discovery Garden. Photo by Lindsey Fleetwood.
Once you're here, it's important to orient yourself to shady spots so that you can take a break from the sun. The Blomquist Garden of Native Plants is a great choice, with thick native tree canopies that keep the temperatures lower than anywhere else in the Gardens. Another cool spot is the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, which is also heavily covered with trees. There are benches throughout these two areas, so have a seat and enjoy the shade.

As you depart from the Gardens, we recommend that you have a "cool down plan" to help regulate your body temperature after being outside. 

When you are the Gardens or exploring other cool places this summer, keep the symptoms of heat exhaustion in your mind and be on the lookout for people who may be showing signs.

If you or another visitor are in distress, please seek assistance. If you don't have a cell phone to call 911, Duke Gardens has several emergency phones, which are marked with telephone icons on our heat advisory map. Stay safe and have a wonderful summer!