Fifty years ago, on April 10, 1966, the North Carolina Botanical Garden opened its first offering to the public, the Piedmont Nature Trails. However, the vision for the Garden started much earlier. William Chambers Coker and his student Henry Roland Totten proposed a botanical garden south of the main campus in the late 1920s. Although some plantings were made by the 1940s, it wasn’t until 1952 that the university Board of Trustees dedicated 70 acres for botanical garden development. William Lanier Hunt, a horticulturist and former student of Coker and Totten, added 103 acres of creek gorge and rhododendron bluffs to this tract. Hunt also helped to found the Garden’s membership support organization, the Botanical Garden Foundation, in 1966. Today the North Carolina Botanical Garden is nationally known for its conservation practices, educational programs, and display gardens.

Click here for a complete timeline of North Carolina Botanical Garden History. Click here for a recommended reading list.

Join the Garden during 2016 for a variety of Signature Events celebrating 50 years as a conservation garden. Mark your calendars for our 50th Anniversary Gala on October 22!

Learn more about the garden and its conservation practices by taking a class, attending a lecture or participating in a special tour. Sign up now for Special 50th Anniversary Programs.

Updated on August 31, 2016 at 10:01:14 am.