Weekend at Duke Gardens

By: Julie Day


The Terrace Gardens at Duke University.

This past weekend, I had the fun of visiting my alma mater and was up to my ears in nostalgia: the campus paths, my old dorms and apartments, Krzyzewskiville, the Chapel, and of course, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Back then, I was too focused on organic chemistry to have many other conscious thoughts, but I must admit I always had a nagging question as I walked through the gardens on my way to class: “Who did this?” Which was followed by the realization that, I wanted to do it, too.

It’s a place that does good to the soul. From the majestic Terrace Gardens, to the restful Garden of Native Plants, to the stately Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens are a showplace of meticulous care that also invite you to take your shoes off. This visit, I watched hungry ducklings, nesting birds, playing children, picnicking students and families, and even the proverbial (and literal) toad on a lily pad.

It took more than ten years for my nagging question to filter from the back of my mind to the front and inspire me along the path of dirt and green, growing things; but I sure am glad it did, and that the gardens served as a reminder. If you’re ever passing through Durham, North Carolina, Duke Gardens are well worth a stop!

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