Looking for a beautiful spot for a leisurely stroll to enjoy nature in the middle of the city? Go to the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, located just two miles from downtown, located at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. The plant collections focus on plants native to these Southern Appalachian Mountain areas and include a large variety of trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, herbs, grasses, sedges, aquatic plants, ferns, mosses and lichens - approximately 600 species in all. They host rare plants such as the Mountain Camellia (Stewartia ovata), Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia), Mountain Sweet Pitcher (Sarracenia rubra, 'Jonessi'), and many terrestrial orchids. Early spring brings a flush of Trilliums that is pretty hard to beat.
Although the peak wildflower season is April to mid-May, something is in flower nearly all year long. In summer, you’ll find berries and the first blooms of the Goldenrods. Fall brings out the many varieties of Asters and Eupatorium, along with the trees that cloak the Gardens in a vibrant autumn color display. Winter, too, is not forgotten as the Witch Hazel's blossom is like a spent New Year's party favor.
Within the ten acres that comprise the Gardens, a walking trail forming a half-mile loop leads visitors across bridges spanning streams, through meadows, and over a woodland ridge to a wildflower cove. An authentic “dog trot” cabin and a spring house demonstrate how our ancestors lived, and a lovely gazebo provides shelter in the midst of the Sunshine Meadow. Along the way, strategically placed picnic benches and tables invite visitors to stop for a picnic lunch or to spend some quiet moments listening to the creeks ripple and the birds sing. Please do not bring pets, radios, or sports equipment – help to preserve the serenity for all guests.
Indoor facilities offer a well-booked library, a lecture room for meetings and programs, and a gift shop stocked with garden-themed items for children and adults alike. The Visitor Center, housing the Garden Path Gift Shop, open daily, from mid-March through mid-December. The Gardens itself is open every day of the year from dawn to dusk. There is no fee for admission to the Gardens, although donations are always welcome.
Directions From Downtown Asheville
Take Broadway/Merrimon Avenue ( US 25) north for approximately 1.5 miles to the traffic light at W.T. Weaver Blvd. Pass entrance to UNCA. Entrance to Gardens is the about .2 mile on the right.
Directions From I-26
Take Exit 25. At bottom of exit ramp turn left. At second traffic light, turn left on to W.T. Weaver Blvd. BGA's parking lot is first driveway on left.
Botanical Gardens at Asheville
151 W.T. Weaver Blvd.
Asheville, NC 28804-3414
Telephone: (828) 252-5190
Another nice walk nearby is Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.