James and Delight Allen “went steady” as teenagers when they both lived in Arizona, but fell out of touch for nearly 50 years. A decade ago, a single phone call changed that. They married and have called Chapel Hill home ever since. And they found a home in the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
They live in a house that borders the Garden’s nature trails. And that makes them both perfectly happy, because nurturing and enjoying growing things have been significant parts of their lives since they were kids. “We always had a garden growing up, and to have such a beautiful and serene place to enjoy and take a stroll with our dogs makes this the perfect place to live,” they said.
They pull weeds alongside the Garden’s nearly 250 volunteers and walk the trails. And with a planned gift the Garden will continue as a conservatory for native plants of North Carolina and the Southeast U.S. and as an educational center.
The 30,000 square-foot James and Delight Allen Education Center received the highest LEED rating from the American Green Building Council. It offers healthy, energy-efficient offices and classrooms and also incorporates a wide range of green and sustainable technologies. The $12 million structure was funded entirely by private contributions.
This is story number 79 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.