CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- You can stop and smell the flowers once again in the Triangle.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden welcomed back visitors this month after closing its gates in March over the COVID-19 pandemic. The garden lost nearly $275,000 in revenue from canceled events and a closed shop.

"It was very lonely here. With staff coming back and volunteers and visitors, it feels like we're back to accomplishing our mission of connecting people to plants again," says Director Damon Waitt.

There are new rules and restrictions in place. Visitors must wear a mask if they can't stay socially distant. Indoor exhibits still remain closed. However, Waitt says there's still plenty of nature to enjoy.

"It's good for the soul to be out in the garden," he says.

"It's just very beautiful, serene and relaxing," says Tanya Jisa, a visitor.

Admission and parking are free for visitors.