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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Natural Gardens of North Carolina

by Laura Hegyi, 2006

Natural Gardens of North Carolina (1932) was written by Bertram Whittier Wells, chair of the Department of Botany at North Carolina State College (modern-day North Carolina State University) from 1919 to 1949. Wells was a passionate conservationist and a pioneer in ecology, and his work significantly altered the study of wildflowers and native plants by looking at them within "natural gardens," or communities of plants located in certain areas. This approach, in which Wells describes the habitats of the gardens and then details the wildflowers growing there, was designed to support the idea of conservation of the plant communities. There are 11 major natural gardens in North Carolina mentioned in the book, designated the sand dune, the salt marsh, the freshwater marsh, the swamp forest, the aquatic vegetation, the evergreen shrub bog/pocosin, the grass-sedge bog/savanna, the sandhill, the old-field community, the upland forest, and the high mountain spruce-fir forest. A revised edition of The Natural Gardens of North Carolina was published by UNC Press in 2002.

Additional Resources:

North Carolina. Dept. of Conservation and Development. "Flower Time." North Carolina Today 1. No. 3.  (accessed August 20, 2012).

Moore, Ken. "North Carolina’s Natural Gardens." The Carrboro Citizen. March 25, 2010. (accessed August 20, 2012).

Just Back. "The Natural Gardens of North Carolina." November 17, 2007. (accessed August 20, 2012).