The Sarah P. Duke Gardens began in 1934 as a memorial to her from Duke benefactors and relatives, Mary Duke Biddle, (daughter), and Benjamin Duke, (husband). Mrs. Duke married Benjamin in 1877, and the couple had 3 children together. A native of North Carolina she studied and appreciated literature. Sarah held many friendships with Trinity College professors. Trinity College later became Duke University.
The gardens are a moving tribute to this woman with 55 acres of beauty. There are 15 historic gardens in the collection. Starting at the foot of the Duke University campus it provides a tranquil environment for all to visit. There are many trails and shaded areas for hiking pleasure among the flowers. On the day of my visit it was 100 degrees so while I experienced the summer grace of the flowers it was uncomfortable.
Currently there is a 5 million dollar grant to expand and enrich the gardens. This comes from a Duke endowment and ensures the gardens world class status through the next 100 years.
All that said here are a few pictures from the varied gardens.
Perhaps the most striking garden in terms of flower color surround the Terraced Garden.
Then there is the path where one can walk their animals during certain times of the day.
My favorite garden was the Burpee Education Center. Here children roam and learn that eggs don’t come from a grocery store but from a chicken, and other interesting points. Vegetables growing here can be observed and there is an adorable place in the pines for story time.
The Duke Gardens are open 8 a.m. to dusk, 365 days a year and are free. There are minimal parking fees and donations are appreciated. It is a must see on a cooler day.