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Of the many Japanese-inspired gardens in the United States, the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina contains perhaps the most diverse plant collection. The 18-acre arboretum showcase plants from Southeast Asia in a beautiful setting encircling a large pond. Typical Japanese design elements enhance the landscape including an arched bridge, stone lanterns and water basins and water features. A small tea house offers traditional Tea Gatherings in an intimate setting and a small streamside shelter offers the perfect setting for quiet contemplation.

One of the more unusual gardens is the Kathleen Smith Moss Garden. This shade garden highlights a collection of rather underappreciated specimens including mosses, lichens and liverworts. These tiny plants play a huge role in forest ecology. Though often taken for granted, as you look closely at any traditional Japanese garden, you find the subtle beauty of these small wonders prominently featured.

Finally, for a fantastic display of hardy and tropical water lilies visit the Fish Pool, located at the base of an extensive Terrace Garden. Here you find a diversity of blooms including the incredible Victoria water lily. This beauty reaches a mature size of over 7 feet in diameter and can support a person walking across the water.

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