Welcome to the Gardens


Day Lilies

Black-Eyed Susan

Ox-Eye Daisies



The highlight of early May is the blossoming 620 azalea bushes. Some of them usually begin blooming in late March but this year some cold weather caused a delay. Some of the Azaleas bloom in late May. For June and July, the multi-colored 3,000 Day Lilies will bloom throughout the lake area. Also, Black-Eyed Susan will join the yellow, green and gold throughout the Gardens. Ox-Eye Daisies will add sections of white and Bee-Balm will add a deep purple with fragrance. Spiderworts will flourish a dark to light blue, usually in the morning rather than all day.

For those who have not recently visited the Gardens, you will see minor reroutes of the trails to prevent erosion. Near the gorge waterfall new safety steps have been installed to make the descent safer for crossing the stream.

Jack Riley of Raleigh, a professional nature photographer is on the DeHart Botanical Gardens, Inc board of directors. He has photographed many flower species for eventual (hopefully next Spring) display in the Museum. In addition, I have taken photos of more than 40 different kinds of mushrooms. Those photos will be in the Museum. Dr. Robert Bruck of the College is preparing a video of the Gardens major sites and is also assisting me on determining the soil and rock formations for placement in the Museum.

During Summer School at the College we invite new students and of course the faculty and staff to visit the Gardens either on their own or to have one of our board of directors serve as a tour guide. As most of you know, the 91-acre Gardens have been deeded to the College by the DeHart Family.

The Gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Call (919) 496-4771 for information or for a guided tour.


Location: The Gardens border US 401 on the east side, 5.5 miles south of Louisburg and 0.5 mile north of Royal Crossroads.

Hours: The Gardens are open to the public from sunrise to sunset. To determine what these specific hours are at any given time of the year, please use this online guide, making sure you have selected the correct month.

Acreage: 91 acres, which include a residence and structures for storage of botanical equipment

Emphasis: The Gardens include preserved forestation and an open area with a lake that provide protection for a wide range of botanical species. The Gardens are also open to the public for visitation, hiking, weddings, educational sessions, 5K track, community concerts, and picnicking.

Natural Environment: Prominent areas of Paleozoic granite, deciduous and evergreen forests, natural springs and streams with cascading sections, 1.5-acre lake, and more than 375 flora species and 100 fauna species. Considerable number of flora species unidentified. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has designated the Gardens as a bird sanctuary.

Previous History: The Gardens property is part of the former Myrtle Timberlake Plantation estate. Its colonial ancestral history is traced to a former land grant by Charles II of England. Records show that Richard Timberlake and his wife Mary owned considerable land in this area in 1789. One of their descendents was Julius P. Timberlake. He and his wife Martha acquired more than 2,000 acres and lived in the Rose Hill Plantation, a columned mansion with Georgian/Federalist design, located about one mile south of Louisburg on US 401. At Julius' death in 1901, his daughter Myrtle received 304.5 acres, mainly in the northeast of the Royal Crossroad. Foundations of the Myrtle Timberlake home remain on the Gardens' grounds and can be seen on a spur trail from the Waterfall Trail.

Current History: The Gardens have gone through three stages of development. The first 21 acres were called "Greencroft Gardens" because Allen de Hart and his wife Flora lived in a colonial home name Greencroft in Albermarle County (near Charlottesville, Va). The Gardens' design and development began in 1963 and the lake was constructed in 1969. Following additional expansion, the name became "Franklin County Nature Preserve." In 1984, the Gardens were charted as a private foundation and merged with the 168-acre De Hart Botanical Gardens (Section A) in Patrick County (near Stuart), Va. On April 26, 2012, the Gardens were officially given to Louisburg College. Mr. De Hart worked as a professor at the College for five decades.


To inquire about holding an event in the Gardens, please contact Allen de Hart at adh4771@aol.com or (919) 496-4771.