The other day, I was driving past Wilmington’s Arboretum for about the 12th time after a meeting that ended sooner than expected, so I decided to stop and enjoy the free (!) garden.
Arbor over greenhouse in Arboretum Wilmington, NC
As I mozied through the unattended gates, I noticed an art class painting the scenery directly to my right. Nice to see that the community is taking advantage of this free space!

Japanese rock garden Arboretum Wilmington, NCI wandered past the painters, spectators, and children running underfoot toward a section of the garden that immediately caught my eye. It was a Japanese rock garden directly in front of a small hut built in the Japanese style, with large red wooden ‘gates’ in the same style on either side of the path. You may or may not be aware of my obsession with all things Japanese, but suffice it to say that this part of the Arboretum made me very happy.

Japanese style hut Arboretum Wilmington, NCI played with the sliding doors to the hut for a little while, then moved on to other parts of the garden. It was not nearly as large as Airlie Gardens, but the space was well-planned and had plenty of secluded areas where I could envision myself reading or drawing or simply soaking up the green space for use on a rainy day.

Pencil Cactus in greenhouse at the Arboretum in Wilmington, NCI toured the two greenhouses, observing some really neat types of cacti. Then I read about rainwater irrigation techniques and learned that this urn-like fountain was more than decorative. It was recycling the water collected from the roof of the greenhouses.

Rainwater Irrigation System Arboretum Wilmington, NCEventually I made my way over to the Ability Garden (Horticulture Therapy Program) where a myriad of flowers and herbs were for sale for the meager price of $3.00. Better than anything I’ve seen at Lowe’s that’s for sure. They even had planters for sale full of various greenery that had been assembled by kids in the program.

Ability Garden Arboretum Wilmington, NCI walked back to the final space (as it turned out, it was supposed to be the entrance) which appeared at first glance to be a community garden. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that all the vegetables grown in this garden were donated to a charity that helps people in need. I think the Arboretum is my new favorite place!

big old tree arboretum wilmington, ncOn my way out, I grabbed a couple pamphlets about volunteering with the Arboretum and peered through the locked doors of the gift shop. Guess I’ll have to stop in next time!