NCBG Timeline


The new Garden Commons is dedicated and installed at the back of the Totten Center as the site for seasonal special outdoor events. In 1997, it is awarded the Jean and Pearson Stewart Appearance Award from the Town of Chapel Hill.

In September, Hurricane Fran topples many large trees, especially on Nature Trails, the Coker Arboretum, and at Mason Farm Biological Reserve, including the Champion Southern Shagbark Hickory, recognized as the largest of its kind. The old-growth forest in Stillhouse Bottom is devastated. The Nature Trails and Mason Farm Biological Reserve are closed. Felled trees are left to decompose. Nature Trails' and other pathways are cleared of debris with help from the UNC Grounds Dept. staff, Wellspring Grocery, the UNC Hospitals Radiation Therapy staff, and the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro. The Garden's main collections area is open to visitors. The Sculpture in the Garden show opens as planned on Sept. 30.

Highland Pond, called Salamander Pond, an important vernal pool atop Edwards Mountain in Governors Club, is donated to the Botanical Garden Foundation by William Lanier Hunt and the Governor's Club. The pond on a 3 acre site will be maintained in its natural condition as an important breeding site for salamanders and amphibians.

The UNC Senior Class of 1997 selects design and reconstruction of the wisteria arbor in Coker Arboretum as the focus of their class gift.

NCBG is ranked as one of “America's Best Public Gardens” by Garden Design magazine. In the category of Native Plants, NCBG is one of four gardens considered by the panel of experts to be the best in the country.

Retired Botany Professor and Herbarium Director Albert Radford and his wife, Laurie Stewart Radford, a botanist and former Herbarium curator (who writes an Herbarium history in 1998) give their home and land in Chapel Hill to the Botanical Garden Foundation, a major contribution toward the NCBG Master Plan's Research Center and Herbarium.

The Herb Society of America chooses the NCBG as the site for the National Rosemary Collection.

Baptisia “Purple Smoke”is introduced to the public at the NCBG by Curator of Native Plants Rob Gardner, who with Janie Bryan found it growing among dozens of typical blue wild Baptisias. Gardner took cuttings and observed them for 3 or 4 years. With help from Niche Gardens, the new cultivar was readied for introduction to the public. It is being followed with great interest in the horticultural world and is featured in magazines such as Garden Design, Organic Gardening, and American Nurseryman.

The International Dendrology Society with members from England, Argentina, New Zealand, France, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and the U.S., visit the NCBG, the UNC campus, and the Coker Arboretum. William Lanier Hunt's 90th birthday is celebrated at the Carolina Inn.

Carnivorous plant experts and enthusiasts from around the world convene at the Totten Center for the Southeastern Carnivorous Plant Conference.

During the visit to UNC of Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion Company to celebrate WUNC-FM's 20th anniversary, he described the Coker Arboretum on the radio show: “This is forest country down here … beautiful trees all around and not far from Carmichael Auditorium here on the campus of UNC is an incredible 5-acre arboretum, right in the middle of campus with loblolly pines, northern catalpas, pond cypress, and water hickories, sweetgum trees and the magnolias, of course It's a lush forest here … these are woodland people here, a little more modest than the rest of us.”

Mason Farm's 101st birthday is celebrated, having started with a gift of 800 acres of land by bequest of Mary Elizabeth Morgan Mason. Her gift is the source of approximately ¾ of the Garden's 600 acres and includes the Mason Farm Biological Reserve and the Nature Trails. The event also honored naturalist, John K. Terres whose book, From Laurel Hill to Siler's Bog, made Mason Farm and its inhabitants famous.

Jean Stewart, the first NCBG volunteer, is celebrated for 25 years of volunteer service. She is an original Plant Rescue and Plant Propagation volunteer, and a go-to helper for Ken Moore in the early years of the Garden.

The NCBG's Administrative Board approves founding of a publication series with the first volume, a monograph, to be jointly published by the Chapel Hill Historical Society: Chapel Hill and Elisha Mitchell, the Botanist by Rogers McVaugh, Michael R. McVaugh and Mary Ayers.

New and expanded plant collections are established: Aquatic Plants, Horticultural Therapy beds, Rare Plants, Carnivorous Plants, Perennial Plants, and the Plant Families Garden. Planting of displays and collections and a new irrigation system are completed.

William Lanier Hunt is honored with the Flora Caroliniana award shortly before his death at 90 years of age.

Retired Botany Professor and Herbarium Director Albert Radford and his wife Laurie Stewart Radford, a botanist and former Herbarium curator give their home and land in Chapel Hill to the Botanical Garden Foundation, a major contribution toward the NCBG’s Master Plan’s research center (the Herbarium).

ID: 54
Modified by: Knauff
Last Update: 2017-01-11
Publish: 1

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