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Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden a sight to behold

By Carolyn Glasgow
Master Gardener Volunteer
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden near Belmont is the perfect place to have a wedding, rain or shine.
I attended an outdoor wedding this month in the White Garden, followed by a reception in the Great Hall of the Visitor Pavilion. The well-manicured gardens were lush with spring flowers and perennials surrounding fountains, walkways and arches.
The gardens are relatively new. Daniel J. Stowe, a retired textile executive, first envisioned the gardens after visiting the Fuqua Conservatory at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in 1991.
Already an avid gardener and nature lover, he selected 400 acres of lakefront meadowland to develop into a world-class botanical garden. His estate planner spent months researching botanical gardens in the U.S. and Europe. Groundbreaking began in 1997 on Stowe’s 78th birthday.A 13,500-square-foot Visitor Pavilion, eight garden rooms, a half-mile woodland trail and 12 fountains were opened in 1999. The West and White Gardens opened in 2003 and the Encore Azalea Garden in 2005. The newest addition is the Orchid Conservatory in 2008.
The gardens were developed in stages, and by spring 2000, the Stowe Botanical Garden became one of the region’s premier wedding destinations. In 2004, DSBG was named one of the nation’s “20 Great Gardens” in the new HGTV flower garden book.
The Orchid Conservatory is the Carolinas’ only glass house dedicated to the display of orchids and tropical plants. Today, there are 110 acres of gardens featuring bountiful garden wildlife.
Besides the beautiful plants, there are many pieces of garden art. There are bronze sculptures in the Crepe Myrtle Crossing, fish sculptures in the Canal Garden and three cast glass and steel sculptures by artist Stephen Dee Edwards in the Orchid Conservatory.
I plan to return in the fall to see the Encore Azalea Garden with more than 500 azalea plants in full bloom.
The gardens are located 8 miles from Interstate 85, Exit 26. You will drive through the charming town of Belmont to reach the entrance. Plan to bring a picnic and spend the morning or the afternoon. You can even bring your art supplies if you are an aspiring artist. Visit www.dsbg.org
Carolyn Glasgow is a Master Gardener Volunteer with the Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.

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