|The Woodland Bridge in the Doris Duke Center Gardens.|
Photo by Clarence Burke.
Fall colors are spectacular at Duke Gardens, and despite our dry summer, this year is no exception.
Visitors are marveling at the sugar maples (Acer saccharum) that flank the parking lot as they enter, and they're raving about the camellia flowers in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum.
|Japanese maple leaves.|
Photo by Sue Lannon.
“They all comment, saying [the maples] are so pretty and the color is breathtaking,” says Sue Schneider, a Duke Gardens ambassador who greets visitors at the Gothic Gates. “And in the Asiatic Arboretum, the red bridge with the maples in the Japanese garden are spectacular.”
Schneider also volunteers in the arboretum, where fall visitors are often surprised by the blooming camellias.
“People who aren’t from this area say, ‘Wow, what is that?’ ” she says. “They can’t believe what they’re seeing.”
Seasonal color has peaked in western North Carolina, but deciduous trees in the Triangle weren’t in any hurry to put on their fall coats of yellow, orange and red in early fall. Now the show is on.
|Fall's changing colors. Photo by Sue Lannon.|
If that makes you want to learn more, check out classes at Duke Gardens that delve into plant life, including “The Winter Garden” at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 6, “Landscape Plants for North Carolina Gardens” in February, and “Basic Botany and Plant Growth” in February and March.
|Ginkgo biloba. |
Photo by Jason Holmes.
“A couple of years ago, there was a girl, probably about 5, in a red petticoat underneath the ginkgo, picking leaves up and throwing them in the air,” Rawlins said. “It was the epitome of perfect, and it's a mental picture that I carry with me.”
The ginkgo is one of Rawlins’ favorites because “it's a tree that turns gold one day, and then the leaves start falling, and it's raining fall color.” There’s still time this fall to see the tail end of the ginkgo’s golden display.
|Camellias in |
Pine Clouds Mountain Stream.
Photo by Sue Lannon.
Rawlins, a prize-winning chrysanthemum grower, also recommends checking out the numerous mums displayed throughout the Asiatic Arboretum. The diversity of color, shape, size and form makes these plants eternally fascinating.
“We've had a lot of good compliments on them,” she said. “It's a flower that's doing its thing when not much else is.”