The eminent UNC botanist and namesake of the Coker Arboretum, Dr. W.C. Coker created this splendid garden of towering specimen trees around a home he built in 1908 and named “The Rocks” after a dramatic outcropping of Chapel Hill granite. The North Carolina Botanical Garden maintains this rocky section of the garden as Louise Venable Coker Park, in honor of Dr. Coker’s wife and fellow gardener, who served as President of our Chapel Hill Garden Club in the early 1940s. Mary Jane and Woodrow Burns purchased the property in 1985 and restored the garden in keeping with the home’s Mission/Arts and Crafts and Prairie style. Catharine and Woodrow continue as caretakers of this legacy garden.
A monumental White oak, Live oak, American beeches and Cedar of Lebanon are among the lofty trees reigning over the expansive garden. A group of Virginia Bullman sculptures enlivens the lawn’s landscape.
Landscape architect Chip Calloway and Margo MacIntyre, Curator of the Coker Arboretum, Caroline Siverson and Jeff Coke have been instrumental in restoration and maintenance.
Watch for QRReader-enabled signage at ground level. Scan them with your mobile device to learn more about the garden’s trees.
If you don’t have a cell phone or a reader, or if you want to read in-depth information and view photos of the trees and bushes on the property, click HERE .
David Pike, President and owner of Witherspoon Roses, will be available near the rose garden to answer questions regarding maintenance and care of roses all day Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
While visiting the tour gardens, don’t miss this opportunity to observe and talk with a group of talented artists as they paint. The artists will have works available for sale.
This garden is a short walk from the Fitch-Sweet garden.
Photographs courtesy Daphne McLeod, unless otherwise noted.