In May of 1997, the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. designated the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden as its official South Atlantic Region Unified State Project. This unique garden - which appeals to the senses of smell, touch, and sound - is under construction on the campus of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. One-half of the 11 acre garden has been installed. The Garden Cub of North Carolina, Inc. dedicated the Garden Site at the annual meeting in Raleigh on April 30, 2001.

This garden is now being used as an "outdoor classroom" allowing the students to experience scent, sound, and touch. The Culinary Garden area is designed to help cultivate an interest in gardening on vocational and recreational levels. The students at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind and the adults at the Rehabilitation Center, referred to as consumers, will benefit from the tactile images featuring the history of North Carolina in the Governor's Garden.

The Martha Franck Fragrance Garden will serve over 900 blind students across the state, with 68 residential students on the campus of the Governor Morehead School. Three major divisions of services are offered to 14,033 blind and visually impaired consumers at the Rehabilitation Center, located at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Funds are being sought from individuals. Garden Clubs, Civic Clubs and Foundations to expedite the completion of the entire garden design.


Martha Franck met Helen Keller when Miss Keller made a speech in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1935. Afterward, Ms. Franck had a recurring dream of a sojourner seeking out a certain flower on the basis of its smell. This dream evolved into her vision of a garden for the blind. Eventually, the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden became a reality on the grounds of the Adult Rehabilitation Center for the Blind at Butner, North Carolina. In 1960, the Garden Club of North Carolina. Inc. accepted the garden as a state project.

In 1984, the garden was dismantled when the Adult Rehabilitation Center was moved from Butner to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Sculpted products such as plaques and a bronze bust of Helen Keller that adorned the original garden were given to Ms. Franck's granddaughter.

In 1996, personnel from the Governor Morehead School contacted the Garden Club of North Carolina about reestablishing the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden on the school's Raleigh campus.

The organization responded by accepting this challenge for a South Atlantic Region Unified Project, (KY, WV. VA, SC, and NC) in May 1997. By fall, two graduate students from NC State's Landscape Design School were working on a plan for the garden. Donations from individuals, Garden Clubs and Civic Clubs made possible the initial planting of the Mobility Garden. The Governor Morehead School rebuilt the gazebo. Upon receiving the SAR Award in March 1999, the GCNC, Inc. Trustees made a recommendation to continue the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden. A Standing Committee was appointed May 1999 and sought assistance from the North Carolina Department of Transportation in redesigning the total site.


This garden has been designed to appeal to the visually impaired and those with multiple physical challenges. By feeling the different textures of the various plants and experiencing the unique fragrance of each, the blind will be able to identify them. The sound of the fountain will create a sense of direction. Wheel chair accessible, the garden has been designed to promote self-dependence in mobility for visitors. The Culinary Garden will serve as an adjunct training area for the visually impaired adults. Tactile images, symbols of the state, will be featured in the Governors Garden representing the heritage of North Carolina. The labeling of plants and trees will be done in Braille or raised letters throughout the complete garden. A drawing of the garden is attached to provide an image of information presented below.


The Mobility Garden is a maze with four keyhole designs: Rose Garden, Butterfly Garden, Woodland Garden, and Texture Garden. This area has been installed to help visually impaired visitors identify the paths leading to the different gardens.

A prominent feature is the bust of Helen Keller and a plaque printed in English and Braille from the original garden now placed in the Mobility Garden as a focal point.

The Edward Johnson Memorial Garden features a fountain surrounded by a retaining seat/wall planted with raised beds of lavender, herbs and many other plant materials.


The Culinary Garden will feature raised beds for garden herbs and vegetables. Central to this area will be the GCNC. Inc. Seal, made of slate, which has been donated. This Seal will be embedded in the intersecting pathways. The Culinary Garden will be placed in an area easily accessible for the education program for the visually impaired at the School. A stone garden house is located nearby to store maintenance equipment for the garden.

A very unique feature in the Children's Plaza will be the NC Garden: the granite base will be etched with decorative motifs pertaining to North Carolina such as the state tree, bird, reptile, etc. the Motto, "Esse Quam Videri" The North Carolina State Seal will be featured on the surrounding wall.



The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. is committed to the completion of this project and to securing the funding needed through aggressive resource development Thus far, over $100,000 has been raised which has been spent to cover the design and the installation of the first major phase of the garden. The second major phase of the garden is estimated to cost $193,000.


NC Garden (granIte base/tactile art forms) $60,000
Construction Cost
Labeling (common/Scientific name in English and Braille) $16~000
Culinary Garden (raised bed/wheel chair accessible/plant materials) $50.000
Signage/Garden Sections $2,000
Retaining/Seat Wall/Pathways $65,000


In support of the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden, additional donations, gifts, memorials and honoraria may be made GCNC, Inc./MFFG and mailed to:Garden Club of North Carolina, PO Box 33520, Raleigh, NC 27636-3520. Please include your name and address.


Copyright © 2002-2005, Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc

The Franck Garden website is proudly hosted by the NCCU-VITP.

Helen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”. The Martha Franck Fragrance Garden Standing Committee has displayed a great degree of optimism in developing this garden for the visually impaired at the Governor Morehead School.

Sara Brooks, Chairman GCNC