Juniper Level Botanic Garden, a $7.5 million gift to North Carolina State University, will open eight weekends during 2021 for public viewing, plant purchases, and free advice from the experts. There is no admission fee.
“Two open garden weekends are scheduled each season,” said founder and benefactor Tony Avent. “Winter has turned out to be the most important because people can see how the garden is put together. They can see the bones of the garden.
“There are so many incredible plants in the garden in the winter, both for form, for texture, and in flower. Wonderful things from broadleaf evergreens, to conifers, to evergreen perennials. A garden doesn’t have to be a flat pallet of mulch in the wintertime. This is what your garden can look like.”
Winter visitation weekends are February 26-28 and March 5-7.
“With more people working and staying at home and trapped indoors, gardening boomed throughout 2020,” said Avent. “Gardening allows us to get outside and draw healing energy from the earth. Gardening is especially beneficial during tough times, not to mention the beauty and joy it brings.”
Established in 1988 south of downtown Raleigh, the not-for-profit Juniper Level Botanic Garden has grown into a 28-acre conservation and inspiration garden whose mission is to discover, grow, study, propagate and share the world’s flora.
Participating in dozens of domestic and international plant expeditions since the mid-90s, Avent amassed one of the world’s most diverse plant collections. “Currently, we have just over 27,000 different kinds of plants,” explained Avent. “That makes our botanic garden one of the top five collections in the United States.
“We knew the climate was changing and wanted to preserve plants. Many of the plants we found on our trips are now extinct in the wild, and we’re the only place they exist. The more the climate changes, the more paramount it becomes to preserve these plants for human benefit.
“We have always had a close connection with North Carolina State University and JC Raulston Arboretum. The Arboretum’s mission and ours are identical. To collect, study, propagate and share plants. The Arboretum’s primary focus is woody plants, and Juniper Level’s focus is primarily on perennial plants.
“Raulston Arboretum currently has about 7,000 different plants. Between this collection and the 27,000 at Juniper Level, the result is one of the largest and top collections in the world of genetics.
“We set up an endowment through the university. When the endowment for the garden is fully funded, that will allow us to open full-time as a public garden and a sister to Raulston Arboretum,” added Avent.
Meanwhile, operational funding for Juniper Level Botanic Garden continues to be provided by plant sales, growing and shipping over 100,000 plants each year, and selling plants during the open garden weekends.
Fundraising efforts for Juniper Level Botanic Garden in conjunction with JC Raulston Arboretum, operate under the auspices of The Endowment Fund of North Carolina State University, a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax ID 56-6000756. Donors receive an official receipt for contributions to the fund.