Information on:

North Carolina Botanical Garden

100 Old Mason Farm Road


The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a unit of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We further the University's mission of teaching, research, and public service through our own mission:

"To inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants in gardens and natural areas and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature."


The history of the North Carolina Botanical Garden is a history of the people and botanical legacy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 1903, William Chambers Coker, the University's first professor of botany, began planting a teaching collection of trees and shrubs on the central campus. This collection was to become the Coker Arboretum. Starting in the late 1920s, Coker and his student Henry Roland Totten, proposed a more complete botanical garden south of the main campus. Although some plantings were made by the 1940s, it was in 1952 that the Trustees dedicated 70 forested acres for botanical garden development. To this tract were added 103 acres of dramatic creek gorge and rhododendron bluffs, donated by William Lanier Hunt, a horticulturist and former student of Coker and Totten.

Hunt also helped to found the Garden's membership support organization, the Botanical Garden Foundation, in 1966. In 1961, Dr. C. Ritchie Bell was appointed the Garden's first director. The Garden's first public offering-its Nature Trails-opened on Arbor Day in April 1966. Its first state appropriation was acquired five years later in 1971, when the first employee, J. Kenneth Moore was hired.

Director C. Ritchie Bell, a professor of botany and tireless promoter of the flora of North Carolina, had enlisted the support of the Botanical Garden Foundation and the Garden Club of North Carolina to publish a book of photos with William S. Justice. Wild Flowers of North Carolina (UNC Press 1968) filled a need among wildflower lovers and students of natural history, and it brought valuable attention to the fledgling North Carolina Botanical Garden. Dr. Bell also enlisted many students to help at the Garden even before he hired its first employee.


Karin E

Saturday, June 30, 2018
Very nice garden and it's free (they do accept donations). It's a good learning environment. It is divided into different ecosystems of North Carolina. It has an area for kids. There is also an area where you can watch birds and other cute critters feeding on the fallen bird seed. You are also able to leave the gardens at various locations to go on trail walks.

Adrian's Pets

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
This place is beautiful and free! They have great little paths through many different types of plants. They also have cool t-shirts in their gift shop.

rochelle berkeley

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Not the greatest botanical gardens I've ever been to that's for sure. It was more like a preserve we can walk around and see plants growing in the wild it wasn't well maintained or manicured like you would expect in a Botanical Garden. We went to the Duke botanical gardens right after and it's 1 million percent nicer. We were very disappointed.

Sandi LaMoy

Sunday, April 29, 2018
Awesome place to walk through with a group or alone. Beautifully designed with a wide variety of plant life. Markers can be found throughout the gardens. Metal artworks are beautifully done. Calm enjoyable trails throughout. There are places to sit and rest clean public restrooms, drink vending machine and a store which has a variety of plants, stationary, books, puppets, aprons, pots, yard ordiments and so much more! There are also Pokemon gyms and stops throughout the gardens. Plenty of free parking. I love the gardens. Hope you enjoy, as I know you will!

Tania Prezas

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Beautiful garden, well taken care of, with many points of interest. Kids loved the fish tanks, the giant Chess and finding tadpoles and frogs. Shop is overpriced. There could be a picture beside the name of the plant. Because everything is mixed together, it sometimes difficult to know what is what.

North Carolina Botanical Garden is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media