The Juniper Level Botanic Garden will open its doors to the public for eight weekends in 2020, allowing residents to explore one of the world’s most diverse plant collections. 

The garden, valued at $7.5 million, was gifted to North Carolina State University by Tony Avent, who established the park in 1988 with his late wife Michelle. 

The garden grew from two acres south of downtown Raleigh to 28 acres dedicated to education, research, and outreach.

“Currently, we have just over 27,000 different kinds of plants,” Avent said in a press statement. “That makes our botanic garden one of the top five collections in the United States.” 

Efforts are underway to establish Juniper Level Botanic Garden as a sister institution to J.C. Raulston Arboretum. While the Arboretum hosts a variety of woody plants, Juniper Level focuses on cultivating perennial plants. 

“Raulston Arboretum currently has about 7,000 different plants. Between this collection and the 27,000 at Juniper Level, the result is one of the largest and top collections in the world of genetics,” Avent said. “Combined, these two institutions have the capacity to be the center of the ornamental universe.”

The garden will be open to the public for two weekends each season, starting the weekend of February 21. For future dates, check out the website. Admission is free, and reservations are not required.