Greenfield Lake - Wilmington NC Garden
From historic mansions to city parks, Wilmington gardens offer a number of unique experiences, each influenced by the city’s rich history and the unique climate of Southeastern North Carolina. Warm temperatures year round means there’s always something in bloom!
Located just before the Wrightsville Beach Bridge, Airlie Gardens
is the crown jewel of gardens in the Wilmington area. The historic waterfront planation features 67 acres of breathtaking formal gardens, historic structures, walking trails, freshwater lakes, views of Bradley Creek, and sculptures. Airlie has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the early 1900s, and is also known for a collection of over 100,000 azaleas and the 462 year old Airlie Oak.
A self-guided tour allows visitors to set their own pace and explore the unique design and flow of the gardens. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12. Memberships are also available. And, the first Sunday of every month is County Free Day, allowing New Hanover County Residents to visit for free. Airlie Gardens is open 9am-5pm daily, and features several events year round, including Enchanted Airlie, a favorite holiday tradition in Wilmington, a concert series May through September and an oyster roast in October. The site also hosts a number of educational programs and tours, and is available for weddings and private events.
Downtown Wilmington is home to several historic gardens that provide an excellent example of the city’s history. In particular, the gardens surrounding the following three historic homes are not to be missed: The Latimer House, The Bellamy Mansion
and The Burgwin-Wright House. A Passport Ticket for $24 is available to visit all three, (admission to each home is $10 separately for one day) and is good for a week from the time of purchase. This allows access to both the homes, and the gardens, although for those just wishing to stroll the gardens, they are available free of charge.
The Bellamy Mansion garden has been recreated to reflect what it would have been in the mid-19th century, complete with antique varieties of plants. Follow the curved pathways of crushed oyster shells through the whimsical garden that is anchored by mature Southern magnolia trees. Just down the street, The Burgwin-Wright home boasts seven unique gardens that showcase native North Carolina plants and design elements of the 18th century. The last home on the tour, The Latimer House, also features a restored Victorian garden centering around an original fountain in the front yard, as well as an herb garden out back. All three homes offer various tours and events throughout the year. These homes, and their beautiful gardens, offer a unique glimpse into historic downtown Wilmington.
If a modern day garden is more your speed, the New Hanover County Arboretum provides a beautiful and educational 7 acre garden, showcasing species that grow in the coastal climate as well as new trends in planting. The Arboretum is part of the New Hanover County Cooperative Extension and offers a variety of programs, including Master Gardeners, a plant information clinic, children’s programming, environmental education, events, weddings, and even horticultural therapy in the Ability Garden. Located off of Oleander Drive, the Arboretum is free and open to the public daily.
Azaleas in a Wilmington NC Garden
Another beautiful example of coastal gardening and landscaping can be found at Greenfield Park, a lake front park featuring bald cypress and live oak trees, azaleas, camellias, roses, and crape myrtles. A great place for a walk following the paved trail around the lake, this park provides an enchanted feeling with the abundance of Spanish moss and beautiful trees. Greenfield Park is part of the City of Wilmington Parks Department, and is free and open daily. It’s located on South 3rd Street.
Whether you’re interested in historical perspective, horticultural education, physical activity, or just a beautiful place to spend some time, there is a garden in Wilmington to meet your needs!
S. 3rd Street
New Hanover County Extension Arboretum
6206 Oleander Drive
The Latimer House
126 South Third Street
The Burgwin-Wright House
224 Market Street
The Bellamy Mansion
503 Market Street
Page updated 3/19/2012 – ticket prices, hours, and other details subject to change.
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