Tomorrow begins the final matchups in March Radness, an epic showdown to discover the coolest thing in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

If you’re just joining us, The Cave had a dramatic comeback last week, setting up an epic contest against Pie Pan, who has gone from relative obscurity to perhaps the favorite to win it all. The NC Botanical Garden will battle Cat’s Cradle in the other matchup.

The March Radness Final 4 games start tomorrow.

We’ve never interviewed a botanical garden before, though we have spent many an afternoon strolling through it. Emily Oglesby, the Communications & Exhibits Coordinator, helped translate the garden’s messages below.

You’ve made it to the Final 4 of March Radness. What has enabled you to be so cool?

We’d like to think what got us to the Final 4 is providing free opportunities for people to get into nature around town, from our main garden and nature trails off of 15-501 to Coker Arboretum and Battle Park on the UNC campus. Or maybe it’s producing the definitive guides to the taxonomy of southeastern native plants. Could it be we’re riding a wave of street cred from the recent Cat’s Cradle Back Room show that featured a different North Carolina Botanical Garden staff member in each of the evening’s three bands? All possible, or it might just be the carnivorous plants.

You’re a 12-seed, the lowest seed to make the Final 4. What do you say to the doubters who didn’t expect you to get past Town Manager Chris Blue, much less the Carrboro Farmers’ Market? 

We’re truly honored to have made it this far. We’re big Carrboro Farmers Market fans over here (any given Saturday, you’re likely to run into several current and former NCBG staff members wandering the aisles), so we were surprised to come away with that one! To the doubters, we’d say: you’ve obviously never experienced our southeastern native carnivorous plant collection.

If we do March Radness again, what NC native plant would you least like to be matched up against in the first round? 

This is an extremely tough call, but top of mind right now is the flowering dogwood (Benthamidia a.k.a. Cornus florida). It’s got strong name recognition from its status as our state flower, and it’s a popular pick in gardens around town. And it’s starting to bloom right now! Black-eyed Susans and eastern redbuds are other well-known natives that would make formidable opponents.

The North Carolina native plant we’d MOST like to be matched up against in the first round is easy: poison ivy.

This is a picture of poison ivy, courtesy of the NC Botanical Garden.

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