Friday, March 4, 2011

Cape Fear Botanical Garden

I took a detour on my way to the coast last Thursday and stopped in Fayetteville.  You probably know Fayetteville as the location of Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, but have you heard about the Cape Fear Botanical Garden?

The Garden covers 79 acres in the Sandhills of North Carolina where the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek converge.  This is agriculture zone 8a; it was like jumping into Spring a couple of weeks ahead of where we are in Charlotte.

What are some reasons you might want to visit the Cape Fear Botanical Garden this time of year?
*Flowering apricot (Prunus mume) in full glorious bloom.
*The Camellia Garden.
*The Heritage Garden which includes herbs and an 1886 Farmhouse.  There is also a tobacco barn on the property.
*A hellebore- and daffodil-filled Water-wise Garden accented by Lusterleaf Holly (Ilex latifolia)

*An Urban Forest full of American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), Chalk Maple (Acer saccharum ssp. leukoderme), and American Hornbeam (Carpinus carolinana).  For native plant lovers, this is the most exciting place in the garden.  The unique ecosystem is home to over 1000 species of plants.

As I was walking through the Forest, I came upon my favorite surprise of the day -- this dainty but bold wildflower filling the woods and even sprouting up through the gravel pathways.  I had never seen so many before!

Trout Lilies!  (Erythronium americanum)

Daylily and Hosta Gardens will draw me back to Cape Fear Botanical Garden this summer and I will plan to see the Children's Garden which I somehow missed.  I expect the herbs will be lush and fragrant.

The Garden is currently building a large visitor pavillion with classroom, gift shop, snack bar and an Orangerie which will host conferences, community groups and educational programs.  There are some exciting plans for more plantings, too.  Funding, I suppose, will determine when it is finished, but it is something to else to anticipate.