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Wildflower Spotlight of the Month

Bird Checklist 

The plant collection of the Botanical Gardens at Asheville is represented by over 600 species that are native to the Southern Appalachians. These include many species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vines, grasses and sedges. Habitats vary from the sunny and dry to the shaded and wet, allowing many suitable niches for a wide variety of plants. The Gardens is refuge to over 50 species that are considered uncommon, rare or endangered on a regional, state or federal level. Such species include Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia), Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata), Broad-leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis latifolia), French Broad Heartleaf (Hexastylis rhombiformis) and Pale Yellow Trillium (Trillium discolor). 

April through May is peak for spring blooms throughout much of the Gardens. . During this time, the slopes are covered with thousands of flowers such as Trilliums (Trillium sp.), Spring-beauties (Claytonia sp.), Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata), Green and Gold (Chrysogonum australe), Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) and Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia). (Our spring flush of Trilliums is - honestly - pretty hard to beat.)

Mid-summer through early fall is the second bloom peak and is generally restricted to the sunnier parts of the Gardens. In these areas numerous species can be found but particularly many members of the Aster family such as Joe-pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum), Blazing-star (Liatris sp.), Green-headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia lacinata) and Goldenrod (Solidago sp.). If one looks hard enough, one may find something in bloom nearly year-round. Many visitors are surprised to find Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) flowering in the middle of fall color or Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) flowering in winter, sometimes through a light blanket of snow. 

Click here to see a Bloom Lists of plants found in the Gardens.

Current trends in the plant collection include boosting diversity of common families that are either taxonomically challenging and/or under-represented in the collection such as Violets (Viola sp.), Sedges (Carex sp.) and members of the Aster family. Another trend, during the past decade, is that the Asheville area has endured consistent mild to severe drought. Thus the horticulture staff is favoring plants more tolerant of hot and dry conditions. The Peyton Rock Outcrop, Ulp Meadow project (found on the creek side of Sycamore Meadow) and the planting of the parking lot expansion all reflect the horticultural response to a changing climate.

An aggressive program to rid the Gardens of exotic and invasive species continues. High priority species for eradication include Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), English Ivy (Hedera helix), Periwinkle (Vinca minor) and Japanese Stilt Grass (Microstegium vimineum). Restoration of sites dominated by these species allows for the addition of many more native plants to the collection and helps to protect the biology of the greater region.

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. 

For more information on Native Plants, click here.

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville provides verdant settings for educational programs, weddings, memorials, picnics, and classes such as photography, painting, or plant identification. Tours are available.

Our 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 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.

Our Visitor and most of our trails are wheel-chair accessible.

Outside and inside spaces can be reserved for meeting and weddings. Guided tours of the Gardens can be arranged.  

Map of the Gardens   | Directions to the Gardens

Wildflowers of the Month