CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens aim to show the diversity of plants in North Carolina and beyond.
What You Need To Know
The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens started in 1966
Visitors can check out the plants at the gardens in the middle of campus for free
Nowadays, the botanical gardens have 10 acres of outdoor gardens and a nearly 5,000 square-foot glasshouse
The gardens started in 1966 thanks to Biology Professor Dr. Herbert Hechenbleikner and UNC Charlotte founder, Bonnie E. Cone.
Hechenbleikner wanted to create a living classroom for biology students. Fifty years later, the green space has 10 acres of outdoor gardens and a nearly 5,000 square-foot glasshouse.
Eighty percent of the outdoor gardens showcase plants that grow well in the Southeast region of the U.S., which is one of the favorite features of this space for volunteer Christian Lizarazo.
“You can see it’s good for the environment. It’s good for the fauna,” Lizarazo said.
Lizarazo loves that the botanical gardens have native plants and interesting design.
The aspiring landscape architect also enjoys the beauty of this place.
“It’s a green space within the city that you don’t really find,” Lizarazo said.
In the courtyard of the greenhouse you can find carnivorous and bog plants. Inside the greenhouse, you can see orchids, succulents, the chocolate tree and the allspice tree.
"When people come to this botanical garden, we want them to be able to see the incredible diversity that's really out and truly we barely do it justice. The world is a big place,” Director Dr. Jeff Gillman said.
One of the biggest draws of the gardens is the corpse plant, which grows for 15 years and blooms for two days.
The plant receives its nickname from the rotting flesh smell it releases as it blooms.
"It will bring 3,000 to 5,000 to come and view it, so it's pretty big for us,” Gillman said.
You can visit the botanical gardens for free.
“We love having it free. We love we are in a college campus and we are on a college campus. We have students walking through. That’s actually pretty unique for a botanical garden,” Gillman said.
Lizarazo hopes more people come enjoy this peaceful place.
“How beautiful it is, and also, to learn what we have locally,” Lizarazo said.
The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens are a nonprofit organization. In the fall they will have a plant sale, which is a fundraiser.
Next year, an outdoor exhibit will open featuring a living history of the crops in North Carolina.
You can learn more about the gardens and plan your visit here.