A visit to The North Carolina Arboretum is unlike any other. Located in Asheville, the arboretum lies within the Pisgah National Forest, one of the most botanically diverse regions in the United States.
“Our goal, with both individuals and groups, is to creatively connect people, plants and places through education, design and economic development,” said Whitney Smith, marketing & public relations manager for the arboretum. “Group visits give the opportunity for our visitors to learn the many stories and details behind the history, design and aesthetic of the arboretum and region. Because the property is so large (434 acres), it allows visitors to focus on one particular area and learn about this cherished region.”
Groups can choose between a variety of tours, including guided garden tours and hiking tours.
“Guided garden tours provide visitors with in-depth information on the arboretum’s garden design, seasonal plantings, history, art and general garden information,” Smith said. “Visitors are led through 3 acres of the arboretum’s exhibit garden areas, including the Heritage Garden, signature Quilt Garden, Stream Garden, Bonsai Exhibition Garden and Plants of Promise Garden.”
One of the most popular stops on tours is the Quilt Garden, Smith said. The garden is designed in a traditional quilt block pattern, reflecting the close tie between gardening and the craft of quilting in the southern Appalachian region.
The arboretum’s Bonsai Exhibition Garden contains one of the most extensive bonsai collections in the Southeast, and allows groups to learn about traditional Asian bonsai species and American species native to the Blue Ridge Mountain region.
“Rotating art, science and educational exhibits are displayed year-round indoors, and the arboretum has more than 200 pieces of art placed throughout the property,” Smith said. “There is a variety of things to see, explore and enjoy — it’s truly a blank canvas for visitors. Visitors can spend as little as one hour or the whole day exploring the grounds.”
Guided group tours receive discounted pricing and reservations are required three weeks in advance. Motorcoach parking is available.
For more information, call 828-665-2492 or visit ncarboretum.org.