Hendersonville – Bullington Gardens at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail in Hendersonville held a fundraising raffle for their many horticultural therapy and educational programs for children and adults with special needs. Carole Carter from My Carolina Home made and donated this stunning quilt in vibrant colors with a Dahlia design to the Gardens. On October 2nd the winner was announced: Carrie Blair from Brevard. Of 440 tickets sold, Carrie Blair had the winning number, 239, to win the lovely 42” wide by 43” long design on 100% cotton—made to be hung as a work of art. Carrie said, “I am happy to support Bullington Gardens and a local artist. If a quilt raffle is offered next year, I hope everyone will take a chance to support this wonderful Garden.”
Dahlias are a big player on the Bullington Gardens campus. This fall rather than having the celebratory 30th Anniversary Gala as planned, the safer alternative was to have small groups to what was called Wee Wine & Dahlias. An evening with good friends in the gorgeous outdoor setting was offered for groups—with tables, tents, chair and wine for eight throughout September. A group was able to entertain their friends and family in the splendor of the Dahlia garden. Approximately twelve tables were hosted. Some of the event sponsors this year were Bee Haven Gardens in Flat Rock, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Wild Birds Unlimited, Peter and Jasmin Gentling, Sherri Metzger, Ann Panuska and Linda Hansma.
And the Gardens even have their own “Dahlia Lama.” The volunteer hero is Brian Killingsworth, who has created a stunning array of blooms in Bullington’s Dahlia garden, thereby earning him the nickname of Dahlia Lama. Brian owned and operated a commercial Dahlia farm in Georgia where he hybridized Dahlias. After he sold his farm and moved to a condo in Hendersonville, he was unable to grow his beloved Dahlias in his new home. Soon he discovered Bullington Gardens and became an active volunteer and the 2020 September Volunteer Hero.
Both the spring and fall plant sale were held online this year rather than at the gardens. Items can be picked up with no personal contact, at someone’s convenience. Just go to https://bullingtongardens.org/store/ to look at the available items.
The newest venture this year will be the online Holiday sale, probably starting sometime in November with an assortment of handcrafted items via the online store. There will be trees and wreaths that can be pre-ordered, as well as poinsettias, cyclamens, amaryllis and decorated wreaths and swags. Every year Bullington Gardens sells wreaths for gravesite placement. Joyce Jolly, a retired veteran, heads up the wreath sales and helps deliver and place the wreaths on graves at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Black Mountain. Last year over 230 wreaths were placed!
One surprise event during this time of Covid 19 was the sudden unexpected popularity of Bullington’s Fairy Trail. This is a delightful trail in the woods with miniature fairy homes tucked into tree trunks, so one can wander along a patch and catch a glimpse of little gnomes, mushrooms, and fairies in various garden settings. The woodsy trail is a magical, whimsical setting for any age. John Murphy, who recently stepped down as Director said, “The one turn of events this year that has been equally exciting and concerning was the sudden popularity of our Fairy Trail. Some postings about it had gone viral and we were unexpectedly inundated with inquiries from all over the country. We had to close it for a short time to make preparations for a safer experience for a larger crowd during a pandemic. And so far, that has worked out. Nearly 6,000 children and adults have come to visit since June. We are able to safely manage this by having one of our faithful volunteers posted at the trailhead to monitor flow along the trail.” The Fairy Trail did close after Labor Day.
On October 1, Annie Higgins, became the new Administrative Director. John will stay on as Education Director, focusing more on educational programs and Horticultural Therapy programs. Sadly, although the educational programs for school children had to be cut off in March, Bullington Gardens has turned to virtual instruction until such time as the students can be back in the garden. They continue to work to find ways to connect with the students and have purchased a GoPro camera to be used for videos and live streaming.
Like so many other organizations, Bullington Gardens has gone “virtual” with many events to maintain themselves as a public garden and horticulture education center. Online, virtual classes too have been held for all ages. On October 14th there was a Zoom class to give helpful tips and ideas for fall planting of bulbs. Bullington Gardens relies on community support to continue its mission and carry on its programs. One way is to join and become a Friend of Bullington Gardens. To join just go to https://bullingtongardens.org/support-bullington/membership/. Or call 828 698-6104 for more information. They are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.