North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation

The nonprofit organization that supports the Garden recently changed its name from the Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc. to the North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc. The original name dates back to 1966, when the foundation may have been the first nonprofit in the country to support a public garden. To find out more about this change and why it makes sense, read this article by NCBGF President Greg Fitch. Read more >


- Wildflower of the Year
- Members' Seed Pack
- Flora Caroliniana
- Thanks, Stephen!
- Free Garden Tour
- Darwin Day
- Watercolor & Wine
- Garden Guides
- Annual Report
- Pterrific Pteridophytes
- DeBerry Gallery
- Sims Lecture
- Garden Shop
- Sculpture Goes to School
- Let's Do Lunch!
- Upcoming Classes
- Youth & Family Classes

Meet the 2019 NC Wildflower of the Year

This year's North Carolina Wildflower of the Year is Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (narrow-leaf mountain-mint). This wonderful member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) is native throughout the central and eastern United States and can be found in dry, open rocky woods, prairies, fields, and roadsides. Versatile and easy to grow, this tough little perennial is at home in a variety of conditions from moist to dry, well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade.

For a Wildflower of the Year brochure including free seeds, send a stamped, self-addressed, business envelope to:

North Carolina Botanical Garden
UNC-Chapel Hill
CB 3375
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375

New NCBG Members' Seed Benefit

We are launching a new and improved members' seed benefit that will provide an easier, faster way to get a hand-picked selection of seeds of our wonderful native species. Our members will now be able to receive their eight free packets of seed each year as part of a Members' Seed Pack, which replaces the Members' Seed List. The new Members' Seed Pack contains eight packets of native seeds, representing some of our most popular species as well as some interesting and unusual native species that are hard to come by. Like our former Members' Seed List, the species selection within the Members' Seed Pack will change from year to year. Orders will be taken online starting at the end of January.

Charlotte Jones-Roe Receives Flora Caroliniana Award

Charlotte receives Flora Caroliniana AwardCharlotte Jones-Roe, director of development, retired from the Garden at the end of 2018. At her retirement celebration, Charlotte received the Flora Caroliniana Award, an honor bestowed upon only six people over the past several decades. This award is given for continuing enthusiasm and service to the preservation, restoration, and appreciation of the natural world around us. Previous recipients include Lady Bird Johnson and Tom Earnhardt. 

Charlotte began her career at the Garden as a gardener 44 years ago. Since then, she has served as a habitat gardens curator, director of conservation, and finally, as our very successful director of development. Congratulations, Charlotte!

Stephen Keith Named Interim Director of Development

With the retirement of Charlotte Jones-Roe, we knew there would be a big pair of shoes to fill in the new year. Effective January 1, 2019, we are happy to announce that Stephen Keith is taking on the role of interim director of development. After studying biology and chemistry at UNC, Stephen first joined our staff in 1995 as a summer intern. He went on to hold a number of positions at the Garden, from curator of Battle Park and Forest Theatre to acting assistant director and assistant director of development. He left temporarily to be the associate director of development for the UNC Arts and Sciences Foundation before returning to the Garden in 2017 as associate director of development. Stephen also earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke and completed his Master of Public Administration from N.C. State. Stephen grew up in Winston-Salem and now lives and gardens with his wife and daughters in Apex. Thank you, Stephen! 

Free Garden Tours


Saturday, February 2, 10-11 a.m. 
In a way, winter is the real spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature. ~ Edna O’Brien

As our days grow longer, new life is stirring in the Garden. Join us for a leisurely walk to see the first signs of the reawakening of many of our plants and animals. Free, but please preregister. Space is limited! Register now >

Darwin Day Lecture: Plasticity, Epigenetics, and Evolution

Tuesday, February 12, 7-8:30 p.m.
Celebrate Darwin's birthday with this free lecture by UNC biology professor David Pfennig! Genes are widely regarded as the fundamental unit of heredity and source of all biological information. Yet many organisms can respond to changes in their environment by altering their features during their lifetime via developmental plasticity. These environmentally modified traits can sometimes be passed to offspring in the absence of changes in genes; that is, acquired traits can be inherited epigenetically. In this talk, we will examine whether and how such environmentally induced changes to development affect evolution. As we will see, research into developmental plasticity and epigenetics has major implications not only for evolution but also for human health. Free, preregistration required. Register now >

wine glass with paintbrushesWatercolor and Wine

Thursday, February 14, 6-8 p.m. • $35/person
Spend your Valentine's Day painting at the Garden! Participants of all skill levels will be provided supplies to create their own masterpiece in a guided watercolor painting session with a certified botanical art instructor. Bring a friend or partner (or just yourself!), and enjoy a relaxing evening of painting, wine and beer, and light refreshments. Participants must be 21 years or older. Grab your seat now as spots are limited! Register now >

Garden Guide Training

Tuesdays & Thursdays: February 19, 21, 26, 28, March 5, 7 (6-session course)
9:30 a.m.-noon

Garden Guides studying aquatic habitatDo you have an enthusiasm for nature and the Garden that you’d like to share with others? Are you looking for a fun and exciting learning opportunity? Become a Garden Guide! Garden Guides are specially-trained volunteers who help us educate thousands of people each year about plants and the natural world. Our enthusiastic and committed volunteers create memorable learning experiences for small groups of schoolchildren (PreK-6th) and adults. You don’t need to be an expert or have a background in teaching! Successful volunteers are open-minded, willing to learn, friendly, enjoy working with people, and have time to volunteer on weekdays. In-depth training covers the Garden’s history and mission, native plants and habitats, plant-animal interactions, interpretive techniques, and program curriculum. Learn more >

Hitting our stride...Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report

This past year was a great one for the North Carolina Botanical Garden! To see how your support has made a difference, we invite you to view our annual report for Fiscal Year 2018.

From the Herbarium:
Pterrific Pteridophytes

The Herbarium has been working to digitize its collection, making the information held in their cabinets available to the masses. This month, they embarked on their latest cataloging effort: ferns, fern allies, and fossil ferns. As they dive into the cabinets, they have unearthed a few specimens with a mysterious past. Herbarium curator Carol Ann McCormick delves into the mystery behind one such specimen in this month's article. Read more >

In the DeBerry Gallery

Through February 28...


Oil paintings by Ellen Gamble

Come get some color in your life with Raleigh artist Ellen Gamble's bold exhibit of oil paintings. Featuring bright, abstracted forms, this show lifts the spirits and showcases some beloved North Carolina native plants like water lilies and black-eyed susans. 

Save the Date! Annual Evelyn McNeill Sims Lecture

Sunday, April 7
The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative: Charting a New Course for Conservation in the 21st Century presented by Dwayne Estes, executive director of the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) at Austin Peay State University

From Laurel Hill to Siler's Bog

From the depths of the Totten Center, we’ve unearthed several copies of the paperback From Laurel Hill to Siler’s Bog, an oldie, but a goodie that chronicles John Terres' time out at the Mason Farm Biological Reserve. Come by and pick up a copy for $10 (Members receive a 10 percent discount).
From Laurel Hill to Siler's Bog presents the fruits of a scientific as well as affectionate association between a dedicated naturalist and the birds, mammals, and insects of a small, wild world. John Terres, noted author and former editor-in-chief of Audubon magazine, spent nine years exploring the Mason Farm Biological Reserve in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His observations of the animal life around him are eloquently recorded here, organized around the cycle of a year from January through December. Originally published to wide acclaim in 1969, the book is an enduring classic of nature writing, and readers everywhere can appreciate it as an engaging introduction to a naturalist's sensibility and way of looking at the world. In a new afterword written for this edition, Terres reflects on his return to the Mason Farm after 25 years and the changes that have taken place there.

Sculpture Goes to School

The Garden recently donated the Bantu the Botanist sculpture by Scott Sides to Glenwood Elementary in Chapel Hill. The sculpture stands adjacent to the butterfly garden created in the fall of 2017 by Garden horticultural therapist Amy Brightwood, exceptional children teacher Annabelle Davenport, and her students.

Let's Have Lunch Together!

Pack a PB&J and join us for a free LUNCHBOX Talk!



Thursday, January 24; 12-1 p.m. • Free; preregistration required
The assembly of the International Space Station (ISS) as a permanent experimental outpost provided the opportunity for quality plant research in space. Learn how researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a plant growth facility capable of supporting long-term plant growth in microgravity, growing Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) from seed-to-seed on the ISS, the first full plant life cycle study on the station. Their experiments, controlled telemetrically from a ground control center, were a prelude to an era of long-term experiments with plants in orbit, where fundamental questions about plant growth in microgravity can be revisited and new questions can be asked. Register now >


Thursday, February 14; 12-1 p.m. • Free; preregistration required
Butterflies are ubiquitous in our gardens and wild spaces, but their enormous diversity can be daunting for naturalists. Join us for a crash course on local butterfly identification, covering tips and tricks for distinguishing between similar species. Participants will also be introduced to the Mason Farm Butterfly Project, a citizen science project with the goal of collecting long-term data on the abundance and timing of butterflies at Mason Farm Biological Reserve. Register now >


Thursday, February 28; 12-1 p.m. • Free, preregistration required
Rescheduled! Piedmont Patch is a collaborative demonstration of how to restore native habitat for wildlife to public and private landscapes in the North Carolina Piedmont. Lisa Fischbeck, vicar of The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill, and Catherine Bollinger, volunteer botanical advisor, will describe the origin of the project and ongoing partnerships helping to create native habitat on part of The Advocate's 15-acre property for wildlife displaced by the rapid urbanization of our region. Register now >

See all upcoming LUNCHBOX Talks here >

Upcoming Classes and Events


Saturdays, January 12, 26, February 2, 9; 9:30 - 2:30 p.m. • $195 ($175 Members)
This introductory course covers basic principles of botany, including taxonomy, anatomy, morphology, and physiology. Class time is divided between lectures and examining/dissecting samples. There are also opportunities for making observations in the gardens. Includes a half-hour break for lunch each day. Register now >


Tuesdays, January 15, 22, 29, and February 5; 1-4:30 p.m. • $150 ($135 Members)
This introductory course is for beginners and those wishing to refresh their skills. Includes using a sketchbook for line drawing, exercises on seeing to draw, quick sketching, mapping for accuracy, and other basic principles of drawing. Register now >


Saturday, February 9; 1-5 p.m. •  $25 ($22 Members)
The Morgan Creek valley in Orange County holds a wealth of natural and cultural heritage, from ice-age rhododendron bluffs and rare plants to American Indians and moonshiners. Come prepared for several short hikes as we explore the length of the Morgan Creek valley, journeying by van from its headwaters near Maple View Farm to the Triassic Basin bottomlands of the Mason Farm Biological Reserve. Register now >


Saturday, March 9; 1-4:30 p.m. •  $41 ($37 Members)
Celebrate Spring! Learn about native plants that flower in early spring and receive detailed instructions and demonstrations to complete a small drawing of an ephemeral plant species native to North Carolina. No prerequisites. Fee includes supplies.  Register now >

See all upcoming classes here >

Upcoming Youth & Family Programs



Nature Explorers Summer Camp registration opens February 1.

camp kids in a stream
  • Weeklong day camps for ages 4-10 feature hands-on learning, small group sizes, and loads of fun
  • Explore North Carolina’s native plants through nature hikes, citizen science, games, stories, and crafts
  • All sessions taught by experienced environmental educators
  • Camp sessions and dates available online soon


Saturday, February 16; 10-11:30 a.m. •  $12 ($10 Members);
no fee for accompanying adult

For ages 8 & up with accompanying adult. From yellow-bellied sapsuckers to Carolina chickadees, learn to identify common winter birds by sight and sound. We’ll visit our bird-feeding station for up-close encounters, learn how to be a citizen scientist, and take home a feeder and identification chart to common North Carolina feeder birds. Register now >

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