Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Coker Arboretum in April

These pictures are from a trip that we took to Chapel Hill in in the spring. The roses in front of the planetarium were in bloom. No labels, unfortunately. The hybrid teas and floribundas looked good because they had been sprayed within an inch of their lives. I always wish they'd plant more old-fashioned and species roses, since they do so much better here, but that isn't Witherspoon's thing. At any rate the roses were lovely even if they did smell like fungicide and insecticide.

A lovely holly with an unlovely name (Ilex vomitoria), otherwise known as Yaupon holly. The berries have a beautiful translucent quality. The Coker Arboretum is right behind the planetarium and we always visit it after having lunch on Franklin Street.

Alumroot, Camassia, and Baptisia

I enjoy visiting the arboretum to see all of the different specimens, native and otherwise, and it gives me a lot of ideas for my own garden. I really should plant Epimedium in my garden. It looks very dainty and delicate but I've read that it's tough as nails.

Bigleaf magnolia

I see a purple columbine here every year and had to have one in my own garden after seeing one here.

Fernleaf scorpionweed with an Amsonia in the center.

Spanish bluebells

Chinese Parasol Tree with Star of Bethlehem underneath and American beech in the background.

Cutleaf lilac

Piedmont azalea or pinxterflower

Spanish bluebells, Florida azalea, Piedmont azalea/pinxterflower, columbine and monkshood

The azaleas come in all shades of beautiful pinks.


Crossvine on pergola, my guess is 'Tangerine Beauty'.


Dwarf crested iris


Lily-of-the-valley bush, Pieris japonica

Florida azalea 'Harrison's Red'. I knew that Florida azalea came in red, having read about it in Dirr's Manual, but the colors I had seen before this one were yellow to orange. This one isn't red either, more of a very pale pink with tangerine tones and very bright pink buds and stamens, but certainly a departure from what I have seen before.


Usually I'm not very interested in pines, since we have so many loblolly pines at home and they are such a sculptural presence, but this Japanese red pine was appealing with its beautiful very soft needles and many cones.

Iris virginica

Coral honeysuckle

There are wild parsley leaf hawthorns that grow near the creek on the farm, but they don't usually bloom this profusely. They pop up when a storm downs trees and then are eventually shaded over again. I grew one from seed that is about 5' tall but has never bloomed. They seem to like conditions with a lot of moisture. The arboretum was at one time a swampy cow pasture(the faculty put their livestock there) before the stream was channeled. Probably dirt and Chapel Hill grit (decomposed sandstone) were hauled in to build up areas as well.

After visiting the Coker Arboretum we walked to Gimghoul Road, which I will save for another post. We visited around Easter and the sisters' garden was in full bloom.


  1. Wow, now there is a place I would enjoy walking around.

    Thanks for the pictures ~ Spring will be here before we know it. :-)


  2. Beautiful scenery, including all kinds of wonderful flowers I can't grow. I've tried Epimediums and would definitely plant them again if I thought there was half a chance they'd survive here - if you can grow them, you should!

  3. So lovely to see all that colour and the beautiful trees - just what we need to bring a little joy in the middle of winter when all I can see in my garden is bare earth.

  4. What a beautiful place to visit in spring. So many gorgeous blooms and very different from my semi-arid climate though I did see a few plants which grow well here.

  5. Stunning photos of Coker Arboretum, that must be a place of extra-ordinary beauty. Should like to visit it, haha. I started some years ago with a small collection of different Epimediums. They are alive, grow, but are very slow. You show us here so many not so usual plants, love it.The 'Tangerine beauty' cross vine is a real gem, so beautiful.

  6. Just beautiful. I simply can't wait until April. ~~Dee

  7. Wow, if we ever make it to Chapel Hill, we will have to visit this arboretum. Love the Crossvine.

  8. Such a treat on a miserable winter day! I feel hopeful that spring is not as far off as it seems.


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