The Hearts: Magnificent Airlie oak tree, butterfly house, Minnie Evans sculpture garden, Pergola Garden, stroller and wheel chair friendly for the most part.
The Farts: Hot in the summer and no flower markers for true garden enthusiasts
I almost had a heart attack! Truly! I was ready to finally visit Airlie Gardens, with my friend in tow, when what did I discover on their website? This magnificent garden might be sold off by our illustrious New Hanover County government to close the budget gap. A heart attack in the making for sure!!
With my heart beating frantically, off we went. This is one of the most beautiful gardens I have seen. And keep in mind, we went in the heat of the summer which means that the majority of blooms are gone. I lived in S.C. for years and traversed that state regularly on garden tours. Airlie Gardens now tops my favorites!
From the splendid old gent Mr. Airlie Oak (that surely tops 6 stories) to the creepy crawlers perched along the trails (yes I am talking big ugly spiders), this garden will entice any gardener.
Upon entering, one is greeted by a kind person. I did question him in depth about the fate of Airlie Gardens (my blood pressure was way up just thinking of such a loss). He explained that they are currently working on a conservation conservancy which will protect the garden from commercial development but not from possible sale. I would suggest, if you are concerned about their future, you keep checking the website for updates.
Airlie is a beautiful array of nooks and crannies filled with sculptures, arbors, and sitting areas. Contrasted to the privacy of such hidden gems are the open spaces of the lake and greens surrounding the 400 year old oak. Truly, eye candy at every turn!
All gardeners will enjoy the multiple flowering landscapes. The true non gardener will enjoy Airlie's unique offerings including the butterfly house and Minnie Evans sculpture garden.
The complete tour will of course depend on how fast one walks but do plan on spending at least 1 1/2 hours. On this day we spent well over 2 hours enjoying all that Airlie has to offer.
And do bring your camera as you will find lots to photograph!
At every single turn there is more and more eye candy!
I will return for sure to this lovely lady, both in the winter for their well known holiday lights and again in the spring for the Azalea festival. I can't wait!