The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont NC is one of my favorite public gardens. It encompasses 400 acres just west of Charlotte. The gardens are just beautiful, when I am there I feel like I am in a secret garden. At every turn and through the many arbor archways there are amazing flowers, trees and fountains. They do a great job grouping complimentary colored perennials and annuals in each area. Also the conservatory with the tropicals and orchids is breathtaking.
This is our third year visiting Daniel Stowe and we have been delighted each time. It is small enough not to be tiring or overwhelming. And we have never found it crowded. I think it is one of North Carolina's hidden gems.
Belmont is a great little town in which to stop for lunch or poke around the shops.