Visit N.C. Public Gardens to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Festival Of Flowers Biltmore

National Public Gardens Day is May 11, just in time for a special Mother’s Day weekend outing. The annual celebration raises awareness about the importance gardens play in plant and water conservation, green spaces and the environment. This special day is presented by the nonprofit American Public Gardens Association in partnership with Rainbird.

Join the celebration by touring a garden and enjoying family-friendly activities. We rounded up a sampling of garden-themed options below. You’ll also find plenty of other fun possibilities throughout our calendar section.

Seed and Soil Olympics
On May 5 from 10-11:30 a.m., children ages 8-10 can participate in the Seed and Soil Olympics at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Learn how seeds get where they need to go and which seeds travel the fastest and furthest. Adult chaperones are required. The cost is $6 per child. The competition is at Doris Duke Center at the gardens, 420 Anderson St., Durham. For more information, visit or call 919-684-3698. Duke Gardens also offers other family activities throughout the month.

Garden Open House
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens offers eight open houses a year, with two in May. On May 4-6 and May 11-13 stroll through the gardens, buy plants from the nursery, pick your own plants and ask the expert staff questions. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For more information on the garden, located at 9241 Sauls Rd., Raleigh, visit or call 919-772-4794.

Make It for Mother’s Day
Create a special gift for Mom at this hands-on workshop at the Johnston Community College Arboretum on May 10, 4:30-6 p.m. Children ages 5-12 will decorate flowerpots while learning about the different flowers and herbs that can grow inside of them. The cost is $15 per child. The event is at the Arboretum Brick Building, 1240 E. Market St., Smithfield. For more
information visit or call 919-209-2052.

N.C. Botanical Garden
Spend an entire weekend celebrating National Public Gardens Day during several activities hosted by the North Carolina Botanical Garden, May 10-13. On May 10 from 10-10:45 a.m., families with children ages 2-5 can listen to stories and enjoy hands-on explorations as a part of “Nature Tales: Storytime in the Garden.” The cost is $5 per family; registration is required. Throughout the weekend there will also be a book signing and picnic at Coker Arboretum, a vegetable tasting at the campus community garden and an open house at the facility, located at 100 Old Mason Farm Rd., Chapel Hill. For more information visit or call 919-962-0522.

Gardens across the state are celebrating spring with special events throughout the entire month. Take a trip to one of these “farther afield” locations and explore North Carolina’s beauty as a family.

Airlie Gardens Spring Bloom
Attend several free events at Airlie Gardens on May 11 in honor of National Gardens Day, including tours of the Butterfly House, a bird hike and giveaways.

Throughout spring, visit the gardens during “Spring Bloom,” an annual event with extended garden hours. Through May 19, the garden will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for two additional hours until 7 p.m. See 100,000 bulbs bloom throughout the season including azaleas, tulips, daffodils and more.

Airlie Gardens’ 2012 concert series starts along with Spring Bloom, with concerts May 4 and 18. Throughout the season, performances will be on the first and third Fridays of each month. All concerts are at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8/adult and $2/child. For more information on Airlie Gardens at 300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington, visit or call 910-798-7700.

Biltmore Festival of Flowers
Welcome spring at Festival of Flowers, an annual tradition at Biltmore Estate. Through May 20, the gardens will bloom with irises, peonies and acres of azaleas. The Biltmore is a special place to visit year-round, but the spring gardens add a magical touch. Celebrate Mother’s Day, National Public Gardens Day or just the beauty of spring! For more information about Biltmore Estate, which is located at 1 Lodge St., Asheville, visit or call 800-411-3812.

North Carolina Arboretum
Celebrate the month of May at two events at the North Carolina Arboretum, known for its cultivated gardens and bonsai collections. On May 12 and May 15 learn secrets about how to produce plants with show-quality blooms. Dahlia and Mum Society experts will teach their tricks, and a variety of dahlia tubers and chrysanthemums will be for sale.

Or spend the weekend touring award-winning roses May 19-20 during A Day of Roses when you can visit the exhibition, talk with experts about caring for roses, and purchase rose plants, fertilizer and soil amendments. Both events are at the North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. For more information visit

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Make this Mother’s Day extra special at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, May 12-13. Moms get in free all weekend, and the first 250 moms each day will receive a free potted plant. Stained glass and mosaic art demonstrations will happen throughout the weekend, along with art pieces available for sale. Enjoy the art and the gardens and celebrate moms! Picnic baskets can be reserved by calling 704-829-1252 by May 7. For more information on the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, located at 6500 S. New Hope Rd., Belmont, visit or call 704-825-4490.

Megan Finke is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and an intern at Carolina Parent.

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