Botanical Gardens of Asheville a Natural Reflection of Southern Appalachian Mountains
The Botanical Gardens of Asheville, located on a lovely ten-acre site next to the UNC-Asheville campus on Weaver Boulevard, is a haven of sorts for more than 700 plant species that are native to this diverse ecosystem we call home – the southern Appalachian Mountains. For the many people who visit or volunteer their time in these delightful gardens, it is a haven indeed, offering solitude, serenity, and a chance to reconnect with the natural world that surrounds us all.
The Botanical Gardens of Asheville had their start in 1960, when a local group, seeking to start an arboretum, approved a garden design by local landscape architect Doan Ogden. The State of North Carolina made available the land that was located next to the then-new Asheville-Biltmore College (now UNC-A). Thousands of volunteer hours were spent developing the site, as well as saving and planting native plants for use in the gardens.
Those early efforts have paid off in a big way. The Botanical Gardens, with much of its acreage now nicely matured over its forty-plus years of existence, offer visitors some of the prettiest urban space that is available in Asheville. A half-mile walking trail takes visitors across streams, through meadows, and over a woodland ridge to a wildflower cove. An authentic “dog trot” cabin provides shelter midway. The beautiful Wisenblatt Garden, which is full of mosses, ferns, and something almost always in bloom, leads to the Joiner Bird Deck and the Sensory Garden. All have full handicap access. Picnic tables are also available.
The Botanical Gardens’ collections focus on native plants, and includes a large variety of trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, herbs, grasses, sedges, aquatic plants, ferns, mosses, and lichens. Their collection also includes some very rare plants, such as the Mountain Camellia, Oconee Bells, Mountain Sweet Pitcher, and many orchids.
Each season of the year offers something different, and the gardens are never bare, even in the heart of winter.
The facilities at the gardens include a Botany Visitor Center and the Garden Path Gift Shop, both of which are open daily from 9:30 AM – 4 PM, March through mid-November.
The gardens are open from sunrise to sundown every day of the year. Admission to the gardens is free, but the Botanical Gardens of Asheville is an independent non-profit organization, so memberships, donations, endowments, and the active help of volunteers is always needed to preserve the gardens and facilities.
The Botanical Gardens of Asheville are located at 151 W. T. Weaver Boulevard, next to UNC-A. For more information, please call 828-252-5190, or visit their web site, www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org.