|Fall is in full swing at the NC Arboretum|
The 434 acre property boasts several trails of varying difficulty, diverse and well-maintained garden areas, and two very nice buildings for visitors -- the Baker Exhibit Center and the Education Center. I visited the NC Arboretum for the first time earlier in October. Although the whole property was dazzling, my favorite areas were in the main garden area.
|Bonsai displays may use traditional or unique plant |
material, like this grove of bonsai bald cypress.
|The Gardener's Green Shed showcases|
water-saving methods for the landscape
A couple other areas include the Heritage Garden that showcases ornamental plants that have a history as utility plants in the appalachian region, the Dickinson Holly Garden that showcases a variety of hollies and their uses in the landscape.
Although I was originally drawn to the NC Arboretum to view fall foliage and explore new gardens, I was in for a special treat. Right now the arboretum has LEGO nature-inspired art pieces on display throughout the garden as a part of their "Some Assembly Required" exhibit. Of the 27 sculptures that are part of the exhibit, 15 are places outdoors throughout the gardens. Created by certified LEGO artist Sean Kenney, pieces range in size and style, from a intricate phalaenopsis orchid to a life-size lawnmower.
|Young folks were really interested in |
"Some Assembly Required" LEGO statutes
The arboretum offers several features intended to enhance the visitor experience, including cell phone tours, geocaching, clean bathrooms, water fountains, and other amenities available for use in their buildings. The Savory Thyme Cafe is housed within the Education Building, and offers local, natural, and organic selections. The Connections Gallery gift shop in the Baker Exhibit Center had a nice selection of horticultural, local, and touristy items for sale.
Other important considerations when planning your visit:
- Hours of operation:
- April 1 to October 31, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- November 1 to March 31, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Baker Exhibit Center, Education Center, Bonsai Exhibition Garden, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Admission: FREE
- FREE the first Tuesday of each month
- $8 personal vehicles
- $30 commercial vehicles
- $50 buses
- Free for members of the NC Arboretum
- The garden areas, production greenhouse, Baker Exhibit Center and the Education Center are wheelchair accessible. The trails have varying levels of accessibility.
- Wheelchairs are available to use free of charge, and may be borrowed from the Baker Exhibit Center and the Education Center.
- Dogs may visit the gardens and arboretum areas as long as they are kept on a leash. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
- Service animals are allowed inside buildings.
The arboretum is very easy to find from I-40, with plenty of signage guiding you there from the interstate. However, when you plan your trip to the NC Arboretum, consider taking the road less traveled. In addition to hopping on I-40, some folks could also travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway or 19 to Cherokee then up 411 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Special thanks to my co-hort Nathan and his friend Tiffany for keeping me company in the Arboretum. Also thank-you Jared in Raleigh and Nathan in Johnson City for helping me triangulate the peak time to visit Asheville.
To see more photos of my visit to the North Carolina Arboretum, check out my flickr set.
If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please feel welcome to leave a comment on this post or shoot me an email.
Tell me about your last visit to a garden or arboretum. What was your favorite part?
What's the most unusual display or exhibit you've seen at a garden or arboretum?
|Young folks were really interested in "Some Assembly Required" LEGO statutes|