Named for Duke Professor and former Duke Gardens Director William Louis Culberson, the Asiatic Arboretum is an 18-acre collection of plants representing the wealth of floral diversity in Southeast Asia. Exploring the Arboretum trails, you will find many garden favorites—Japanese maples, irises, peonies, ginger lilies and cherries—as well as a host of less familiar but equally interesting and ornamental species. Enhancing the Arboretum landscape are features typically associated with Asian gardens: stepping stone pathways, stone lanterns and water basins, arched bridges, large boulders, and water features.
Bridge repair: Please note that the Japanese arched bridge over the garden pond is closed this summer for a repair and renovation. The concrete base of the existing bridge will remain, but the wood, which has aged over the years, is being replaced with western cedar railings and white oak deck flooring. The new wooden infrastructure will be reconfigured to create a flatter arc, reducing the bridge’s slope and making it easier to cross. The bridge will reopen to visitors in early fall.
Durham-Toyama Sister Cities Pavilion and Garden: This small, refined garden pavilion functions as a venue for chanoyu, the preparation and service of Japanese tea in a traditional manner. Duke Gardens’ intimate Japanese Tea Gatherings are very popular with visitors seeking to know more about Japanese culture. Please see our calendar page (sub-menu "Japanese Tea") to see dates and times of the Tea Gatherings. You may also visit the pavilion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, except during special events. There are no refreshments served at the tea house except during the Tea Gatherings. Please see UNC-TV's "One Moment, One Meeting" to learn more about our Japanese Tea Gatherings.
Pine Clouds Mountain Stream: This dramatic new Japanese Garden, featuring a recirculating stream and waterfalls, is not yet complete, but you can learn more about it and see a preview on youtube.
Garden Pond: Central to many views in the Arboretum, this large pond offers opportunities to enjoy vibrant waterfowl and other pond life.
Pond-viewing Shelter: A small Japanese-style shelter tucked into a quiet streamside setting, this designated “Gardens for Peace” site symbolizes the power of peace in the garden to promote peace in the world.
Kathleen Smith Moss Garden: This unique shaded garden along the forest edge highlights mosses, lichens and liverworts--ecologically important denizens of field and forest whose interest and verdant beauty is underappreciated in the landscape garden.