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Native Woodland Garden, Durham


Name: Native Woodland Garden, Durham

Open to the public: No

County: Durham

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8a (2023)

Extension Demonstration Garden? No

Approximate year the garden/landscape was established: 2018

What to look for: The garden is located on a sloping, pie-shaped suburban lot and composed of different zones around the house. The higher backyard is bordered by a long-narrow natural area with mature hardwoods separating two large South Durham subdivisions governed by homeowner associations. The front yard, initially landscaped with typical builder foundation shrubs and ornamental trees like Burford hollies and Bradford pear,  has a small grass lawn. A yard with only 33 native plants and much of it covered by 10 invasive species, was transformed into a more colorful, diverse, wildlife-attracting, natural-looking garden with close to 100 native species. Different types of mini-gardens or garden rooms were developed based on nature’s tendencies and their predominant sun exposure. The result is a woodland/moss garden on the north side with abundant wildflowers; a wildflower meadow-like garden with an adjacent rain garden on the south side; and a drought-tolerant “driveway garden” in the front yard. Edible plants like tomatoes, peppers, and basil are grown amongst the perennials and shrubs in the foodscape along the south side and front of the house.

Horticulture: Over the course of a few weekends from 2018 and 2020, all invasive species were removed by hand or tool and without herbicide use. Native plants were added in the spring and fall or emerged on their own after the invasive plant cover was removed. The lawn area was significantly reduced by planting native trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and vines and enlarging a perennial bed along the front entrance, and the addition of a rain garden.