The Botanical Gardens in Asheville in North Carolina, is a 10-acre botanical garden representing the native plants found in the Southern Appalachians. The gardens are free and open to the public, open every day of the year during day light hours.
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville can be found adjacent to the University of North Carolina at Asheville on a 10 acres tract that has evolved over the last 5 decades to represent the natural habitat and ecology of the Southern Appalachians. Although located on property owned by the University, the gardens are independently funded and maintained.
The idea for the Botanical Gardens was set in motion in 1959 when Ann Serota, the biology professor at the Asheville college asked the President of the college to set aside land for using as a garden and greenhouse. By 1960 more than 61 community leaders and citizens established the Asheville-Biltmore College Botanical Association with Doan R. Ogden, landscape architect, developing the garden designs.
Stage 1 of the garden was completed in the fall of 1962 with the central wildflower trail and by the Spring of 1964, more than 5,000 additional plants were added to the gardens and the Green Bridge was added. The following year, Leona Hayes donated a log cabin that was rebuilt on site and a Spring house was added in 1967. A rock garden was added in the 1970’s followed by the expansion of educational programming offered at the Botanical Gardens and a Visitor’s Center being constructed from 1980-1984. The Visitor’s Center is now the feature of the Botanical Gardens and showcases the Cole Botany Library, meeting rooms, Solarium, and Garden Path Gift Shop.
Since 2000 the Botanical Gardens at Asheville has placed a great level of importance on education, research and conservation. Through grants and endowments, the gardens have been able to set up scholarship foundations, research incentives for scientists in botany and horticulture, and add additional gardens, participate in ecology projects such as storm water biofiltration and supporting the swamp and bog complexes through a retention pond.
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville include over 600 species of plants that are native to the habitats of the Southern Appalachians. Many of the plants visitors can expect to see while visiting include wildflowers, trees—pine, magnolia and birch, shrubs, vines and a variety of grasses and sedges.
The habitats represented vary from shaded to full sun, dry to wet, allowing for the maximum representation of the various species that thrive in the climate of the Appalachians. 70 of the species represented in the gardens, including Swamp Pink, Oconee Bells, and French Broad Heartleaf, have been declared rare or endangered on a regional or federal level.
A half mile loop takes visitors through the main part of the gardens where the most prominent gardens and attractions are showcased:
· Sycamore Meadow
· Battle of Asheville Earthworks
· Peyton Rock Outcrop
· Sunshine Meadow
· Demmon Bridge
· Rhoades Bridge
· Joinder Bird Deck
· Wilson Bird Garden
· Former Garden for the Blind
· Glenn’s Creek
· Hayes Cabin
· Botany Center
There are also side trails such as the Unca Perimeter trails that will take visitors past the outer portion of the Gardens, Gazebo, Meadows and tree lines.
Visitors should not touch, pick, or otherwise collect or disturb any of the natural elements of the gardens. Children should be supervised always and visitors should stay on assigned walkways. Please see the website for additional rules and regulations.
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is dedicated to the education of adults through botanical and horticulture experiences through the gardens. IN addition to the various scholarships and endowments that are possible for university students and researchers, there are adult classes offered at the Botany Center.
The class schedule changes yearly and does require advance registration. Although visiting the gardens is free, pre-payment for classes is required and can be done so through the Visitor’s Center at the Botanical Gardens. A full list of classes being offered can be found on the Botanical Gardens at Asheville website. Past classes include:
· Cyanotype Workshops
· Wildflower Walks
· Introduction to Botanical Gardens
· Spring Tree Identification
· English Ivy Kills Trees
· Spring Bird Walks
· Edible Summertime Mushrooms
· Language of Science
· Milkweed and Monarchs
· Designing with Native Plants
· Fall Bird Walks
· Winter Tree identification
There are two special events hosted annually by the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. The gardens can also be rented for private events such as weddings, receptions, meeting and corporate events.
Spring Plant Sale-Hosted in May every spring, this sale allows local plant vendors an opportunity to sell trees, shrubs and flowers from the gazebo. This event supports the gardens and takes place regardless of weather and also features food and entertainment.
Fall Plant & Rummage Sale- This event hosted in September hosts vendors that sell plants, gardening tools, books, and other rummage items that have a horticulture, botany, or garden theme.
151 W.T. Weaver Blvd. Asheville, North Carolina, 28804, Phone: 828-252-5190