A Walk in the Woods: Part I, the North Carolina Botanical Garden

“When you increase the number of gardens, you increase the number of heavens too!”

Mehmet Murat ildan
– at the NCBG

I have written before about the partnership between Creator and created that is evidenced in the best landscaping. Not just gardens, but all aspects of human life benefit when we shift our focus from domination to participation, and from exploitation to collaboration.

This was beautifully illustrated in yesterday’s trip to the North Carolina Botanical Gardens (NCBG) in Chapel Hill. Also, the principle is succinctly outlined in their mission statment:

The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a conservation garden. Our guiding mission is to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature.

Rebekah and I explored just a small area but it was the perfect day. I will break our visit down into two posts:

  1. The display gardens (today’s post)
  2. The nature trails (click here)

The Display Gardens:

– Gaillardia “Indian Blanket”

The gardens have been carefully designed to highlight native North Carolina flora in a natural setting. There are areas devoted to Mountain specimens, then the Piedmont, the Sandhills, and the Coastal Plain.

One of my favorite areas was the Herb Garden, featuring all the kitchen essentials I love and more.

– adjacent to the Herb Garden

The landscaping is linked with lovely walks and pathways, and – like North Carolina itself – the regions interface and overlap seamlessly and naturally.

Rebekah and I enjoyed a picnic lunch in “The Mountains” near the Paul Green Cabin. The cabin (actually the local playwright’s writing retreat) dates from the 1930’s and demonstrates the era’s simple and environmentally non-invasive standard – an approach that appears to have been completely set aside in modern vacation retreats.

This is the kind of thoughtful garden design where you can stroll through in an hour or take your time, soaking in every exhibit for a leisurely lesson in all things botanical in North Carolina.

Here is a short (40-second) video featuring Rebekah exploring “The Coastal Plain Habitat”.

So, kudos to the people who had the vision to create this masterpiece, and a shout out to all the staff, volunteers, and UNC students who do the good work of keeping the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in such great shape.

– Derek Maul walking through “The Sandhills”

It remains true that one of the most powerful interventions to facilitate positive social change is education (which is likely why so many political extremists are dead set against it). The more we know about this beautiful state, the more motivated we are to preserve it.

Remember, this thing we have going on with The Creator works best as an active partnership.

In fact, it is exactly the same as my ideas about salvation: “Joining in with the work The Creator is committed to; participating in God’s initiatives of love, grace, light, mercy, justice, reconciliation, restoration… and conservation too.” – DEREK

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