Chapel Hill and surrounding communities have a wide variety of gardens open to the public to enjoy. There are also garden tours, plant sales and more to add to your calendar. Whether planning to stroll with a date, looking to take the kids or seeking inspiration for your personal garden -- there's something for everyone.

Exploring the North Carolina Botanical Garden is like walking across the state of North Carolina. See rare Piedmont wildflowers, native carnivorous plants as well as birds, bees, and butterflies. Don’t forgot the Children’s Wonder Garden and so much more. Register for a second Saturday guided tour from March to November, ($6, $5 members). Garden admission and parking is free at 100 Old Mason Farm Road. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm; Sunday, 1 - 5 pm. Twilight Thursdays allow you to enjoy the display gardens in the evening from April to June 13 until 7 pm and then again beginning in mid-August. Also visit the gift shop and exhibit hall. Some evenings will feature food trucks and music.

North Carolina Botanical Garden with Garden Blog

Offering something unique during every season of the year, the Coker Arboretum is a must see when visiting the UNC Campus. Lounge on one of the open lawns, rest on a shady bench or enjoy a variety of flowering trees and shrubs, along with bulb and perennial displays. The Arboretum, which opened in 1903, is free and is open dawn to dusk 365 days a year and is located on the corner of Cameron Avenue and Raleigh Street. Campus Visitor parking is available nearby and around downtown Chapel Hill. Currently the iconic 300 foot arbor is not in place, but expect a new walkway and arbor in the future. Register for guided tours the third Saturday of the month March to November ($9, $8 members).

The Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden is located in the Town of Chapel Hill Community Center Park at 120 South Estes Drive, Chapel Hill and contains over 450 rose bushes of 130 different varieties. Parking is free and the garden is open daily from dawn to dusk, unless it has been rented for an event. Roses will bloom in mid to late May and last until October. Enjoy the benches, shady gazebo. This year the garden is in a transition stage working to become more sustainable and reduce chemical use. The garden will have roses and perennials to bring in more beneficial insects to take care of the bad insects. It will become more of an English-style cottage garden. 

Rose at Strowd Community Rose Garden

Plan to visit the historic Montrose Gardens in Hillsborough at 320 St Mary’s Road. Guided tours are given by appointment, from September through May, on Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am at $20 per person.  Please provide at least a 24 hour notice, when possible. Groups of 6 or more may arrange tours at other times. The grounds include several 19th century buildings, a rock garden, scree garden, extensive woodland plantings, and large areas of sunny gardens with unique color and planting schemes and more. Montrose, the home of Nancy and Craufurd Goodwin, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Montrose Gardens with Garden Blog

To get some ideas about vegetables for your garden or to learn about developing garden skills, visit the Carolina Community Garden at 212 Wilson Street, Chapel Hill or the Carrboro Community Garden at MLK Jr Park at 1121 Hillsborough Road. You can also volunteer at these community gardens.  

Garden Events in 2024

Magical Hill Fairy House Contest is Saturday, April 27, 11 am - 2 pm as the Chapel Hill Community Center and Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden will be transformed into an enchanted wonderland. Activities include Fairy Garden Contest (must pre-register), Fairy Hair, Food Trucks, Adventure Activities and face painters. Costumes encouraged, but not required, Bring your fairy wings. 

Tour 5 beautiful private gardens and the North Carolina Botanical Garden at the biennial Chapel Hill Garden Tour coordinated by the Chapel Hill Garden Club with the theme "Tucked Away Treasures" on April 27, 10 am – 4 pm and April 28, 11 am - 4 pm, rain or shine. Tickets range from $30 in advance to $40 day of tour.

Chapel Hill Garden Tour by Daphne McLeod

Hosted by Garden Art Gallery, the 29th Annual Art in the Garden Sculpture outdoor exhibition returns in May. Enjoy the work of 10 regionally and nationally recognized artists and sculptors throughout the garden at 1902 Borland Road, Hillsborough, rain or shine. This free event is Saturdays, May 4 & 11, 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday, May 5, Noon – 5 pm.

Art at Art in the Garden event

Daily Plant Sales at the North Carolina Botanical Garden features a rotating selection of southeastern native plants grown in the NCBG Nursey. There is a Spring NCBG Plant Sale on May 4, 9 am - 3 pm  which requires pre-registration 9 am - 1:30 pm. Fall sale planned for September 27 and 28, 2024.

36th Annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibit will be September 15 to December 8 in the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Sculpture in the Garden unites the work of roughly 50 North Carolina artists with the curated landscapes of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. 

2022 Sculpture in the Garden

Photo Credits: Coker Arboretum, UNC; North Carolina Botanical Garden; Johnny Andrews, UNC; Gene Stowd Rose Garden Facebook; Montrose Gardens by Jared Barnes, PhD; Chapel Hill Garden Tour by Daphne McLeod; Art in Garden Sculpture by Sam Spiczka website; Sculpture in the Garden by North Carolina Botanical Garden.