Looking to get my green thumb on and want to know where to go in or around Raleigh. Large gardens? Small Hidden Gems? Excellent plant collections of rare and unusual plants from around the world? Let me know.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC has a Japanese garden area, a native plants area, as well as formal plantings and several other special zones. And it's free (other than parking)!
The classic Raleigh place for a good selection of plants is to go to the JC Raulston Arboretum. They have different sorts of gardens including plants that like arid climates. Occasionally they'll have events. You can easily spend a whole afternoon here, possibly a full day if you're really into it.