Airlie Gardens, Wilmington NC

When one thinks "outdoor Carolina", a garden usually isn't a destination that comes to mind. But the Carolinas are home to the likes of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston, Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, Coker Arboretum at UNC Chapel Hill, and Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville. To name a few.

Each provides a shady stroll under tall trees, colorful plumes of flowers, and in some places, charming bridges over placid waters. A restful escape from the city just outside its gates.

One such paradise exists in Wilmington, North Carolina, just a few miles from Wrightville Beach. We visited the sixty-seven acre Airlie Gardens at the advent of spring, when the Bradford pears and saucer magnolias were ripe with blooms. Camellia blossoms speckled the ground, and multicolored layers of tulips bordered fields and the wide pathway that skirted a lake and led to a chapel and other points of interest. Within weeks, pink and red azaleas would explode, taking their turn at center stage.

We strolled under a Pergola that led to a fountain and stairs that walked into the lake, then we circled around and meandered over the bridge back to the ancient Airlie Oak. Quite a show for the five dollar entrance fee.

Copyright K Buffaloe

Airlie Gardens is located at 300 Airlie Road in Wilmington. For information on the park, summer concert series, nature walks, kayak tours and more, go to


Kelvin Taylor said...

Wonderful pictures of a wonderful place in scenic North Carolina.

Kimberli said...

Thanks! The park was a surprise, for sure. Not only in its beauty (I failed to mention the moss hanging from the oak trees) but in its proximity. Like Cape Fear Botanical Gardens, outings at Airlie Gardens can range from a day to a quick get away.

Sheesh. Do I sound like a commercial or what?

kathyinozarks said...

sounds awesome!

Kimberli said...

Thanks, Kathy. It is! I love these little in-town getaways.

Bob D said...

Quite a few years ago some friends of mine were married at the Elizabethian Gardens at Manteo, NC. I was quite surprised at how lovely and enjoyable that place was. Not only do our Carolina gardens feature wonderful horitculture and beautiful flowers, they are a great place for seeing a wide variety of bird species.

Thanks for sharing your experience. (I'm jealous of all the commentors you get on your blog, BTW). ;)

Kimberli said...

I did forget to mention Elizabeth Gardens, didn't I! Thanks for the reminder. It's on our list.

BTW, the link to your wonderful blog is broken in your comment. For those who may come across this, the correct URL is

Your photos are beautiful, and I've tried to employ some of the techniques you've shared. Thanks!

Kimberli said...

Oops. That should have been the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. I confused the name with the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Park on Grand Cayman!