UNC’s Southern Classic
As home to the country’s first public university, Chapel Hill is rightly proud of its education legacy. The current President’s home was built in 1907, after the original burned on Christmas morning in 1886. Rocking chair porches surround three sides of this grand mansion, affording views of the three garden areas in this UNC garden.
The front garden grants pedestrian access, separation from the street, and some seclusion. Its straight-forward walkway, bordered by Encore repeat blooming azaleas and Japanese plum yew, leads from iconic stone walls to the entrance. A majestic willow oak and unusual magnolia grove provide shade and privacy. Boxwoods anchor beds of hosta, hydrangea, peony, fern, hellebore, lungwort, and salvia. Tree form hydrangeas frame the stairs while beds of annuals pop with color.
The accessible courtyard garden welcomes all visitors. New sky pencil hollies and annuals complete plantings near the steps. The white and green theme accentuates the classic look of the grounds.
Large and small groups are easily accommodated in the wide rear garden, enclosed by charming Southern plantings: azalea, rhododendron, hydrangea, jasmine, gardenia, and camellia. Multiple seating areas and low stone walls invite lingering. Enormous pots sit atop brick pillars, overflowing with spring blooms. A modern fire pit adds ambience and warmth.
This is today’s South. Preserving the best of the past, tilling the rich soil of today, and planting the seeds of the future. This garden and this university exemplify the hospitable heart and soul of the “Southern Part of Heaven.”
Photographs courtesy Daphne McLeod and Kathleen Swendiman, unless otherwise noted.