Duke Gardens: A Labor Day destination
Michael Italia was a gentleman of leisure on Labor Day – and so were his dogs – as they enjoyed a laid-back morning at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
Italia, 26, moved to Durham recently with his wife and their canines – Bondi and Addie.
“My wife just got into the Nicholas School of the Environment and she has classes today, so I’m taking the dogs out,” he said. “I figured I’d see the gardens.”
The couple are from Kansas City, Mo., a city with “lots of fountains” but nothing on the scale of Duke Gardens, Italia said.
His dogs were sniffing around the garden’s goldfish pond, but refrained from taking the plunge. Eventually, they sat beside the water and basked in the day.
Monday morning’s sun and mid-70s temperatures were a sharp contrast to Sunday night’s torrential rain and lightning, and that brought photographer Paul Travis of Durham to the gardens with his camera and tripod.
Travis was photographing a Living Easy rose near the garden’s entrance – an apt choice for a Labor Day shoot.
“This is a gorgeous time to be here,” Travis said. “I thought when the gray skies started to clear out, this would be a good time to come.”
Monday was family time for Adam Schiff, who was enjoying the goldfish with his 3-year-old daughter, Mia.
Schiff, who recently moved to Durham from Chicago, said the family would spend most of the day at the gardens.
“We’re looking for deer, but I don’t think we’re going to see any today,” he said as Mia watched the goldfish moved gracefully through the water.
Mia said her favorites were the orange and black ones.
“The baby fish are so cute!” she added.
Josh Jones of Chapel Hill came to the gardens with his girlfriend, former San Diego resident Cathy Tran, who liked what she saw.
“The first thing that impressed me was the amount of green here,” she said. “The gardens are very well-organized. It has a serene feel to it. It’s a good way to relax.”
Diane Orzechowski of Cary brought her two dogs to the gardens for some socializing.
Hooligan, the most recent addition to the family, is a smooth-coated collie mix that she got from a kennel in Wisconsin.
“This is his first trip here,” she said. “So far, he’s doing well. He’s interested in the ducks, but he’s very shy.”
At the garden’s open, grassy field, Anna Schmidt of Durham was playing kickball and throwing a Frisbee disc with her daughters, 2 and 5.
“We’re creating a new sport, trying to combine the two,” she said. “It’s beautiful, and we wanted to have a picnic and be together without having high stress. Kicking a ball around and having sandwiches outside seemed like the perfect way to spend the day.”