Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Search again Edit this page
United States of America - North Carolina - Durham

Institution Code: DUKE

International Agenda Registration: No

BGCI Member: Yes

About the Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Sarah P. Duke Gardens consist of 55 acres of landscaped and wooded areas on Duke University’s West Campus in Durham, North Carolina. Five miles of allées, walks and pathways provide easy access to all areas of the Gardens. Both formal and informal design elements are blended to create settings of inspiration and beauty. Duke Gardens is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, the first Gardens’ benefactor and widow of Benjamin N. Duke, one of Duke University’s founders.

The historic Terrace Gardens was designed by noted landscape architect Elizabeth Biddle Shipman in 1937 and remain the iconic core of Duke Gardens following a decade of major restoration efforts between 2004 and 2014. The Terraces replaced an earlier garden of iris and perennial beds that had been initiated in 1934.

In 1968, the H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants opened to the public. Named for the first chairman of the Duke University Botany Department, it contains over 900 species that grow in the region from Virginia to Florida and west to Texas. The Piedmont Prairie, a half-acre native wildflower meadow planted with locally sourced seed was added to the Blomquist Garden in 2015.

The William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum was initiated in 1984. It features a collection of plants of Asian origin, designed to reflect the similarities between the climates of southeast Asia and the southeastern United States. The Arboretum is entered through a Japanese-style gate and contains a large pond with Asian waterfowl. Elsewhere in the Arboretum stands a Japanese-style arched bridge, a zigzag bridge and several majestic pieces of oriental garden ornament including a Tea House and the Pine Clouds Mountain Stream, a Japanese style garden completed in 2015.

In 2001, The Doris Duke Center, housing administrative offices, classrooms and other public spaces, and the surrounding gardens were dedicated. The Doris Duke Center Gardens include the Page-Rollins White Garden, the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden, the Spring Woodland, the Angle Amphitheater and the Virtue Peace Pond.

The Gardens has been listed among the best public gardens in the United States and received the 2013 Award for Garden Excellence from Horticulture Magazine.

Main Address:
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Duke University, 420 Anderson Street
P.O. Box 90341
North Carolina 27708-0341 United States of America

Telephone: (919) 684-3698
Fax: (919) 684-8861
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: William M. LeFevre, Executive Director
    Curator's Name: Robert E. Mottern, Director of Horticulture
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Beth Hall, Manager, Paul J. Kramer Plant Collections
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 16
    Educational Staff Number: 4
    Research Staff Number:
    Administration Staff Number: 9

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: Yes
    Status: State: No
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Municipal: No
    Status: Satellite: No
    Status: Trust: No
  • Date founded: 1934
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 5 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 17 Hectares
  • Total Area: 22 Hectares
    Latitude: 36.0017070
    Longitude: -78.9316836
    Annual Rainfall: 1250 mm
    Altitude: 121.00 Metres

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: No
    Arboretum: Yes
    Arboretum Size: 22
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: No
    Seed Bank: No
    Published Plant Catalogue: No
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 300000
    Number of Volunteers: 275

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 9000
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 4500
  • Special Collections:Key Plant Collections of
    Duke Gardens by garden area:

    Blomquist Garden of Native Plants
    Rare and endangered native plants
    Native Ferns
    Native Azalea

    W.L. Culberson Asiatic Arboretum
    Camellia (89)
    Tree Peony (46)
    Iris (Asian) (49)
    Plants collected in the wild in Asia (China, Japan, and Korea)
    Disjunct Pairs
    Acer (species, with a good representation of Acer palmatum) (68)
    Hemerocallis (Lenington Award Winners) (45)
    Plant Families from SE Asia
    Viburnum (34)

    Doris Duke Center Gardens
    Cornus (5)
    Tropical and Hardy Waterlilies (45)
    Teaching Collection (100)
    Tropical Conservatory Plants (100)
    White flowered and white variegated foliage plants (90)

    Historical Garden Core
    Azalea (70)
    Boxwood (9)
    Camellia (175)
    Cornus (6)
    Crinum (17)
    Hemerocallis (including Stout Silver Medal Winners)(150)
    Hellebore (10)
    Hosta (22)
    Iris (23)
    Peony (60)
    Rosa (25)
    Viburnum (20)