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Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden


The Front Shade Garden is the oldest part of the Garden, where Tony Avent first started planting his rare and unusual perennials for display and trial. This lovely garden possesses four seasons of interest, but late winter/early spring is its real-time to shine. The garden also includes a grotto and a man-made waterfall that provided the background soundtrack of water, instead of road noise. Follow the meandering paths that feature many plants, including Hostas, Hellebores, Trilliums, Trout Lilies, Ferns, Camellias, Azaleas, Rohdea (Sacred lilies), Aspidistras, Asarum, Cyclamen, Mayapples, Phlox, Orchids, and so many more plants.

Photograph A: As you walk down this shady path, you will find yourself walking under the arching branch of the Quercus nigra (water oak). Your eyes fall upon the Dryopteris australis (Dixie Wood Ferns) straight ahead in their upright glory. Brunnera macrophylla is on the near left before passing the arch, and the Arisaema ringens (otherwise known at the Japanese Cobra Lily) are pictured here with their trifoliate leaves. So many unusual shady plants to find throughout this lovely garden. 

Photograph B: In this photo, which was taken on April 15, you will find the Aquatic bog filtration Garden in the Front Shade Garden. In the foreground, the fronds of the Osmunda cinnnamonmea and the Louisiana Iris give contrast to the green and gold Carex. You can enjoy the view of emerging ferns as you take respite on the stone bench.

Photograph C: In Mid April the Front Shade garden begins to leaf out and flowers like the blue phlox can be found amongst the foundation plants. In the foreground, you find the variegated Alstroemeria psittacina foliage emerging. Later, in June it will be topped with maroon tubular flowers. Towering above the Princess Lily you will find the Hedera Helix Gold Child. Midway the towering ferns unfurl their bright green fronds. This garden is a layered four season garden with something always of interest.

Photography D: In the front shade garden you will find a bog garden filled with Mayapples, Iris, Sarracenia, Phlox and other plants that love wet feet. 

Photograph E: This photo taken in Spring shows a side view of the Grotto found in the Front Shade garden of Juniper Level Botanic Garden. Constructed in 1994 under the direction of Gallucci-Halligan Sculpture Studio. In the foreground you will find Flowering Dogwood (our state tree in NC), Carex and Moss covered stone ledge. The meandering path will take you past a rock walled garden and paved path featuring different Hosta species, Aspidistra eliator, Asarum, Cyclamen, Rohdea and so much more. There is not a set designed. The garden is ever changing and designed in drifts of one to showcase old favorites and test new species developed by Plant Delight Nursery.

Photograh F: In the Front Shade Garden, near the path with the Water Oak Arch, you will find a North Carolina native Phlox divaricata which blooms between April and May when this photo was taken. In this photo there is a  Arisaema ringens plant at the trunk of the arching Quercus nigra and in the background in bloom there is a mauve flowered Rhododendron. Among the plants you will discover yard art strategically placed with sculptures like this sculpture by Jim Phillips.

Photograph G: The Front Shade Garden, with its many different raised beds was constructed initially in 1989. In late April showcasing new green growth of many species of Ferns, Hosta, Rohdea and other shade loving plants. The Crepe Myrtle, Japanese Maple, and Honeysuckle azalea provide a backdrop and to hide the greenhouses where you can purchase some of the rare and unusual plants that you see throughout the many different garden areas.