Although his appearance and vigor belie his 82 years, Charlie Keith has been nurturing Charles R. Keith Arboretum since acquiring what was run down farm property in 1963. Located a few miles west of Calvander, a rural crossroads on the northwest edge of Carrboro, NC, Keith Arboretum contains some 4000 species from around the world.
The species come from Zones 1 through 9 providing an astonishing variety ranging from native North Carolina species to desert ones to trees from China, the mountains of Taiwan, and Labrador. Each bears a metal tag with its Latin name. You can learn more about Keith Arboretum, take a video tour, and make a donation to the small foundation created a decade ago to support it at http://www.keitharboretum.org/
Becky and I spent an amazing and fulfilling two hours following Charlie around the grounds. We heard the stories behind dozens of trees foreign and domestic, astonished at the diversity so near to the farm where my maternal grandfather grew up. Charlie continues to add new specimens, supplied by a network of colleagues and fellow collectors.