Hendersonville – What better way to spend a late summer evening than under a tent with close friends and bottles of wine, gazing at the spectacular dahlias at twilight at Bullington Gardens in Hendersonville? Your worries and cares of the day will just disappear in this tranquil setting.
Bullington Gardens is a 12-acre public botanical garden at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail in Henderson County’s Clear Creek community. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit horticultural education center offers various programs, activities and workshops. It provides hands-on education in horticulture and other sciences to students, youth clubs and adults, and has many volunteers and supporters.
From Aug. 15th through Oct. 14th, from 4:30 pm-6:00 pm, an organization or group can reserve their spot in the dahlia garden for $300 for a table with 8 people. Many visitors over the years have long admired Bullington’s amazing and beautiful array of dahlias. These eye-catching plants provide a wide array of blossoms in many sizes, shapes, and colors.
This year’s event is dedicated to the 2022 Dahlia team: Kim Biggerstaff, Greg Massey, Jerry Neff, Joy Muck, Linda Kennard, Joe Robustelli, and Sherri Metzger; and the late Brian Killingsworth, who started and mentored the Dahlia team for 10 years. Just call 828-698-6104 to reserve the pavilion or the dahlia tent, or register at: https://bullingtongardens.org/store-5/wee-wine-dahlias-1/. You will have a delightful evening to remember for years to come.
A Whimsical Trail for the Young: The Fairy Trail
The children and grandchildren are visiting for the summer. Why not take them on a path through the woods with charming little vignettes and fairy villages to accommodate these little creatures, which will certainly catch their imagination and attention? Many fairies are living in their “wee” little homes in the woods. Only someone with sharp eyes can spot the tiny creatures—the fairies and gnomes, as they walk on this secret woodland trail.
You may catch them gardening, or cooking in the kitchen, or reading quietly in a chair near the wishing well. To see them better, your young relative must get near their tiny house, perhaps open the door or peek inside the window.
Additions to the charming trail this year are a dentist’s office for the tooth fairy, a unicorn stable, and a photo opportunity featuring fairy wings. Fairy door sponsorships are available as well. Wild Birds Unlimited is a major donor (Sorcerer Level) and has an interactive fairy door that combines their love of birds with Bullington’s mission of education. Raymond’s Garden Center, Crystal Visions, Priscilla and Jerry Glasow, Suzanne Wodek, Honeycutt’s Flowers and Bonnie Mangold have also sponsored interactive doors with messages inside as sponsors.
This delightful trail is free to the public, and open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through August. The path is on natural, somewhat hilly ground – making it a bit difficult for rolling carriages. The Woodland Gazette is a newsletter containing stories, puzzles and fairy-related activities. Visitors can get it when checking in at the trail’s Welcome Tent. Groups are sent down the path at ten-minute intervals. While waiting, one can explore Bullington’s other beautiful areas. Visitors can shop for magical gifts at the Fairy Market on Aug. 13, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be face painting, Zen tangle art classes, and a gnome scavenger hunt. Handmade crafts, crowns, wands, wings, and DIY items will be available for purchase to delight the children on an upcoming holiday.
Bee City Hendersonville
This past February, the Hendersonville Tree Board and Bullington Gardens created a new partnership to coordinate and expand Hendersonville’s commitment to its Bee City USA initiative. Bee City USA, a national program launched in 2012, supports and recognizes communities that work to sustain and protect pollinators. Hendersonville in 2015 became merely the seventh Bee City USA in the nation. A large pollinator mural by artist Matt Willey was completed last year on the exterior back wall of the Hands On! Children’s Museum. It depicts the complete life cycle of the monarch, pollinator plants, a pipevine swallowtail,in addition to a couple different kinds of bees. There is even a pollinator trail, and bee-themed sidewalk murals near downtown. New Bee City USA-Hendersonville Coordinator Patrice German said, “There are many parallels between our mission at Bullington Gardens and the purpose of Bee City USA in Hendersonville. I think this partnership will be productive for the whole community.” Bullington had a Gardening for Pollinators workshop July 14th, as part of its Protecting the Environment Class Series 2022. The Secret Life of Trees workshop will be Aug. 11th from 2–3:30 p.m. for $16.
Bullington Gardens was once the private residence of Bob Bullington. He was born in Cordele, Ga., then worked for the Long Island rail system and as a NYC policeman. After he retired, he moved to Hendersonville. He opened a farm nursery which following his death in 1989 was donated to the Henderson County Education Foundation. It became the Bullington Horticultural Learning Center. It was then leased to Henderson County Public Schools, and is a joint effort with the NC Cooperative Extension.
Annie Higgins is Bullington’s administrative director. She coordinates all administrative duties including meeting with the board and carrying out the vision, leading fundraising efforts and grant submission, maintaining and adhering to the budget, keeping fiscal records current, coordinating volunteers, and overseeing property development and maintenanc. She also works closely with the educational administrator to conduct effective school and public programs.
John Murphy was the sunned face of Bullington for most of its 23 years. He was Bullington’s original executive director until retiring in late 2020, and stayed on as education director. He is now fully retired. Volunteers note how he will be sorely missed. Murphy said he is most gratified about “fashioning a weedy, neglected place into an attractive garden space that is enjoyed by so many visitors,” and getting to “share my love of plants with thousands of students of all ages.”
Tracy Calla, a horticultural therapy specialist from Florida, is Bullington’s education director. Horticultural Educator Erica Piehl oversees the Therapy Garden. Joellen Johnson coordinates volunteers. Linda Patterson is head gardener.
For more info on Bullington Gardens, visit https://bullingtongardens.org, or call (828) 698-6104. There is no fee to tour the gardens. They are open Monday-Saturday, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.