Tulips @ Duke University Gardens

Tulips are in bloom in North Carolina!

An early morning trip to the Duke University Gardens did not disappoint. I wasn’t sure I’d have the timing right, but the tulips–along with many other flowers and flowering trees–are popping off! If you live in the area and are afraid of missing them, you’ve got a few more weeks. Here’s what Duke’s gardeners have to say:

“One of the most frequently asked visitor questions during bulb season is, “When is the best time to see them?” The answer is always, “Whenever you’re here!” Strategic interplanting of early, mid-season and late-blooming varieties of tulips, along with a diverse mixture of other species, allows the “peak” to stretch from March through early May. As a result, there is always something in flower to catch and intrigue the eye for the duration of the season, with each day offering up a slightly different perspective than the day before.”

Deep dive into bulb talk here

One of the best things about these gardens is that they are FREE, aside from a $2 per hour parking fee. So for 4 bucks you can see most of the highlights of the gardens if you’re a quick walker.

Duke University Gardens includes 55 acres of specialty gardens: a butterfly garden, a carnivorous plant bog, a moss garden, an Asiatic arboretum, a discovery garden for kids, native plants, fish pools, waterfalls, a rose garden, a rock garden, a camellia garden, shelters and benches for resting and vibing, meadows for picnicking, a seasonal cafe, and more.

How to visit, in a nutshell: Operating hours are 8am to dusk, 365 days a year. Go early to beat the crowds and score a close parking spot (off of Anderson St). Dogs are allowed before 10am and after 5pm. For those with accessibility needs, it looks like they’re resuming golf cart “trolley” tours this spring, 2022.

Bonus adventure: From the southwestern edge of the gardens, a short, 5-minute walk will take you to the center of the Duke University campus, where the chapel and surrounding buildings are as close as you’ll get to Hogwarts in RDU. We’ll show you around in another post!

Duke University residential quads, with the chapel in the background.

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