Fanciful and elaborate gardens were kept to entertain Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. The Elizabethan Gardens were created as a living memorial to the time when Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists lived in this very place over 400 years ago. The gardens are a project of the Garden Club of North Carolina.
Horticulturists and home gardeners alike are thrilled by our tremendous variety of plants and trees. Hybrid lilies originally donated by the N.C. Lily Society and thousands of annuals and perennials are planted and maintained by a small but devoted garden staff.
The Gardens contain over 500 different species of plants. Featured collections include hydrangeas, camellias, historic herbs and a wide variety of native coastal species. Flower displays are changed seasonally to insure colorful displays throughout the year. Of interest in particular is the camellia collection growing at The Gardens. The Elizabethan Gardens boasts a collection of more than 85 varieties of Camellias that encircle the Great Lawn.
The rose garden contains a rose sent by H.M., Queen Elizabeth II, from the royal rose garden at Windsor Castle. Another true gem among the living collections at The Gardens is an ancient live oak tree. This stalwart of the forest is estimated to have been living in 1585 when the first colonists landed.
The Elizabethan Gardens is a 10.5 acre public garden located within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on the northern part of Roanoke Island. Adjacent to the Waterside Theatre where the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama is performed all summer, a visit to the gardens can be timed to enjoy Fort Raleigh National Park as well.
The Elizabethan Gardens are committed to sharing the Outer Banks unique history and enhancing the quality of the visitors’ experience. The site features both an elaborate gift shop as well as a greenhouse and garden center. A variety of plants and flowers are available for purchase.