On Easter weekend my husband and travelled 70 miles south to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to visit two of my sisters. One sister volunteers at Cape Fear Botanical Garden and after a delicious lunch, she and I managed to escape for a couple of hours to tour the garden. It was my first time seeing it, though I had wanted to for a long time.
The tulips were beautiful the day we were there. A cheerful planting greeted us at the entrance to the visitors center. Once we had our tickets we emerged out the back of the center we immediately encountered more tulips. My sister is at the garden weekly and for some time had been admiring this lovely group.
Also just outside the visitor center door I had to stop to enjoy two copper-toned planters, on either side of the path, each holding a Japanese maple.
The brick path between the two planters (in the lower right above) led through an arbor where I was soon captivated by this little unfamiliar daffodil known as Narcissus ‘Hawera’ (Hawera Daffodil).
Fayetteville has an annual dogwood festival that was coming up and the dogwoods we saw this day were further along in bloom than mine back home. Dogwoods are understory plants that love the forest’s edge. They thrive under these loblolly pines.
The varied terrain of this 80-acre garden allows visitors to enjoy an open pine forest (quite typical of this region) that soon gives way to sandy paths and nature trails leading through hardwood forests and eventually sloping down to meet the Cape Fear River.
Preserved natural areas are home to indigenous plants and wildlife while the cultivated areas feature 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants.
The garden has extensive and well-known collections of daylilies, hostas and camellias. Actually it was the camellias I had especially wanted to see.
Due to a combination of illness and wintry weather I had missed attending the 69th Fayetteville Camellia Festival hosted in this garden a few weeks earlier. Luckily a good number of camellias were still in bloom at Easter, including this pale pink Camellia japonica ‘Magnoliaeflora.’
In close proximity to the Camellia Garden sits the Children’s Garden featuring this oversized chair with a seat cushion of Clematis armandii (Evergreen Clematis).
Working our way back from the Camellia Garden we paused to admire a redbud along side the Cypress Pond and check out the frog fishing off the pier.
Eventually we came to a picturesque gazebo with red maples in the background.
Further along the path there were azaleas, rhododendron, viburnum and this attractive plant brightening the fence. Unfortunately I could not find a label for this one.
We did not have time to see the entirety of this botanical garden on that afternoon so we did not actually make it all the way down to the Cape Fear River. But this section is referred to as Bluff Garden and Cross Creek Overlook. It was quite restful and peaceful as we sat watching this view of Cross Creek and listening to the birds.
With time running out we retreated back toward the visitors center. First though we had one more stop to make.
The McCauley Heritage Garden features a furnished historic eastern Carolina farmhouse that was built in Eastover, Cumberland County in 1886 by Alexander Carter. The house was relocated to CFBG on February 3, 1996. It really is a quintessential style house common to this area.
It is here that my sister hangs out when volunteering each week, guiding visitors through the farmhouse. Unfortunately no one was working the day we visited so I had to peek inside the window to catch a glimpse of the interior.
Also on display along with the farmhouse is a typical tobacco barn and a general store that was once operated by the Carter family.
In front of the farmhouse was an extensive kitchen garden with roses, nepeta and herbs. Raised beds in another portion of the heritage garden are used for growing flowers and vegetables, part of a gardening therapy program for war veterans returning to nearby Ft. Bragg.
The sandy path leading us back to the visitors center was lined with a beautiful forsythia hedge, much of which had already finished blooming for this year.
As we returned to the visitors center there were yet more tulips to admire. This was my favorite.
I really enjoyed finally getting to see the Cape Fear Botanical Garden first-hand. My sister made a wonderful guide and it was great to spend time with her. When we returned my other sister had managed to clean up the dinner dishes, package up several days worth of leftovers for us to take home, and she also had coffee and dessert waiting for us, a decadent chocolate pound cake. Good food, lovely garden, and loving sisters. It was a nice day.