U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

White Garden at The Sarah P. Duke Gardens, NC

Heavenly beautiful, but dangerous! Warning: Seeing this garden can be hazardous to your own garden! It might make you want to tear apart your existing plantings, destroy everything that you created and start building a new all-white paradise.
Visiting the Sarah P. Duke Gardens was a highlight of my trip to North Carolina in June.
What I saw there exceeded my expectations. After spending several hours in the gardens, I was running to the exit trying not to be late for a Duke University campus tour. I didn't know much about the Gardens and believed that I'd seen their best part. It was a total surprise when I bumped into the White Garden. I took my first look and gasped from the thought that I could miss it.
The beauty of white color  - classic, elegant, innocent, serene...

 I liked everything about this garden - its layout, geometry, choice of plants, combinations, containers... everything.
I learned some facts about the White Garden later. At the time of my visit, there were just emotions. How can I describe them? I was charmed, inspired, moved, touched and excited....
Liatris, lily of the Nile, coneflowers, cleome, perennial phlox, canna, monarda.... tell me what other perennials you see here. Grasses, annuals, agaves and shrubs, many with variegated foliage, add so much to the garden's charm!
This is a new, young garden!
Crystal Cotton in her article tells the story behind the garden's creation.
The full name of the garden is Page-Rollins White Garden in the Doris Duke Center Gardens. The idea and inspiration for it came from the famous Sissinghurst Castle Garden, England with its garden rooms. Jason Holmes, curator of the Doris Duke Center Gardens, created a Southeastern U.S. version of it. It is said in the article that the garden will be a knockout when it's fully developed. Well, it WAS already a knockout for me!
I hope you enjoy the pictures and get some ideas for your own garden!

Pure joy...

Isn't white a wonderful color? I got curious about what shades of white could exist: polar white, pearl, seashell, eggshell, ghost white, isabelline, ivory, magnolia, old lace, cream, latte, vanilla (are you craving for coffee, reading this?) beige, anti-flash white and white (Wikipedia).

Don't you want to introduce more white plants into your own garden now?

This new garden will grow and get more beautiful over time. How glad I am to have a glimpse of it in its beginning stage and capture some pictures of it in its infancy! How interesting it'll be to make comparisons later on!
Mr. Holmes believes that 'the peak for this garden should be in the next three years, just because the perennials and shrubs have a maturation period'.
 If you find yourself in Durham, North Carolina, don't miss a chance to see this outstanding newborn garden!
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS


  1. Tatyana,

    Wonderful photos! I did not even know about the white garden. Shame you did not tell me you were visiting been working a mile or two from the gardens the past few weeks. Did you see the water lilies?

  2. You did??? I would walk a mile or two to meet you Randy!
    I did see water lilies. Will post several pictures next. There were just few blooming.

  3. I'm headed out now to rip out my entire south bed. :) This really is gorgeous, Tatyana! I love the Monarda, the agaves, the boxwood and the geometry. Thank you for posting so many photos. Happy 4th.

  4. Thank you Grace! I certainly underestimated the power of white! I got so emotional in that garden, I almost cried, believe me or not!

  5. White gives the garden a clean feel doesn't it? green and white are hard to beat in a simplistic garden.

  6. I was just at Duke Gardens and had no idea they have a white garden. Guess I'll have to go back! Great photos!

  7. Captivating!

    I am adoring all that white, and yes you are right.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  8. AnonymousJuly 04, 2011

    I really want some of those white cannas!

  9. AnonymousJuly 04, 2011

    I really admire white gardens. This is a beautiful place and thank you so much for all the images.You can almost imagine being there.

  10. Beautiful! Thanks for the tour! Carla

  11. What a treat to see! White crape myrtles and boxwoods are the stars of this show. Great presentation.

  12. I once considered creating a white garden, but I really don't have the space and don't come out often at dusk when a white garden is really at its best. Maybe one day I will, thank you for the tour and the pictures, they brought my thoughts back to me.

  13. Tatyana,thank you for this inspiring garden tour.There certainly is some magic in white!

  14. Oh I do like white gardens - and this is superb.

  15. Thank you, my gardening friends! I knew that Iam not alone in my 'white love'!

  16. Beautiful garden, beautiful pictures.

  17. I loved the Sarah P. Duke gardens. The whole campus really. It's not an old university, but it has the feel of one :)

  18. What a treat Tatyana, gorgeous plants and garden!

  19. That is new! Like Randy, I've not seen it and we live here! I'm going to have to go over there.

    Glad you had a good visit to the area. It sure was fun meeting you and your husband.


  20. Tatyana, I just visited the Duke Gardens and did a post on it. There was a wedding going on in the white garden so I wasn't able to see it. Thanks for the tour. Carolyn

  21. I've been fascinated with white gardens for a while and have tried to create my own "Moongarden" on our little plot.
    But this garden; just gorgeous!

  22. I adore a white garden ... awesome, Tatyana! Thank you for the stunning tour. My niece is visiting today!

  23. Dear Tatyana, I LOVE white gardens and I thank you so much for this beautiful tour. I would love to see it for myself one day. P. x

  24. Thank you everyone for taking your precious time and leaving me your comments!

  25. Thankyou Tatyana brings back happy memories of a visit to NC 2yrs ago when I visit SD garden.


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