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Duke University campus
2008-07-15 Duke Gardens main terrace.jpg
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Use Historic public garden
Location West Campus
Namesake Sarah Pearson Angier Duke
Size 223,000 m²
Website Duke Gardens

Coordinates: 36°0′6.49″N 78°56′0.54″W / 36.0018028°N 78.9334833°W / 36.0018028; -78.9334833 (Sarah P. Duke Gardens)

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens consist of approximately 55 acres (223,000 m²) of landscaped and wooded areas at Duke University. There are five miles (8 km) of allées, walks, and pathways throughout the gardens. The gardens are divided into four parts, the Historic Core, the H.L Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum and the Page White Garden. The gardens are a memorial to Sarah P. Duke, wife of Benjamin N. Duke, one of Duke University's benefactors.



In the early 1920s, Duke University's planners intended to turn the area where the Sarah P. Duke Gardens are currently located into a lake. Funds for this project ran short and the idea was subsequently abandoned. The gardens then officially began in the 1930s, when Dr. Frederick M. Hanes, a faculty member at the Duke Medical School, persuaded Sarah P. Duke to give $20,000 to finance the planting of flowers in the debris-filled ravine. By 1935, over 100 flower beds consisting of 40,000 irises, 25,000 daffodils, 10,000 small bulbs and assorted annuals graced the lawns. Unfortunately, the heavy rains of that summer and the flooding stream completely washed away the original gardens. By the time Sarah. P. Duke died in 1936, the gardens were completely destroyed. Dr. Hanes was able to convince Sarah Duke's daughter, Mary Duke Biddle, to finance a new garden on higher ground as a memorial to her mother. Ellen Biddle Shipman, a pioneer in American landscape design, was chosen to create the new gardens. They are considered by many to be her greatest work.


The 36th line of latitude goes directly through the Duke Gardens; there is a plaque designating a spot through which the meridian runs.


See also

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