The quality and diversity of the plant collections, along with the knowledge and dedication of the staff have always been hallmarks of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. While maintaining those strengths, we are striving to augment our interpretation, programming, volunteer program, and other services to serve a wider array of visitors.
A thread that runs through all our collections is an emphasis on diversity of species and cultivars – we are interested in sharing with our visitors great plants that they have previously never encountered. Our collections are organized within three distinct garden areas.
The 7-acre woodland Van Landingham Glen contains over 1,000 species of plants native to the Carolinas (trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns), and is home to an outstanding collection of hybrid rhododendrons and native azaleas.
The 3-acre Susie Harwood Garden showcases hardy ornamental plants from all over the world in an intimate setting. A special emphasis has been placed on displaying winter-interest plants, as well as choice, underutilized Asian and American plants.
The McMillan Greenhouse’s eight rooms and courtyard support an extensive orchid collection of over 1,000 specimens, succulents, primitive plants, carnivorous plants, and tropical ornamentals, including epiphytes, fruits and spices. The greenhouse is also home to a rare Titan Arum which drew thousands of visitors in a 3-day period when it bloomed in July 2007.
Much energy and talent has gone into creating and caring for our collections, but we believe in offering more than just a display of beautiful plants. Our motto is “Sharing the World of Plants with People”. Sharing takes many forms, including plant-related university course offerings, guided tours, workshops, interpretive signage and brochures, and plant labeling. Visitors may access all areas of the gardens and greenhouse, and are even encouraged to touch the plants. The greenhouse classroom is used for botany classes as well as by various clubs and plant societies for their monthly meetings and special events. The public is invited to our twice yearly plant sales, and we offer a membership program. Our volunteer program has two components – a horticultural program and a greenhouse host/docent program. We are well-respected in the community as a freely-offered, academically-grounded source of horticultural and botanical information. Dr.Larry Mellichamp, the director of the gardens since 1976, is a botanist, horticulturist, and world-expert on Sarracenia pitcher plants. Each of our staff takes pride in being knowledgeable about the plants they work with, and is eager to answer questions and provide information for visitors. We are a public garden where personal service and close-up experiences are a reality.