National Native Azalea Collection in Asheville

The North Carolina Arboretum’s National Native Azalea Collection is a wildly beautiful array of unique flowers, butterflies, and scenic mountainous landscapes.

The Arboretum’s National Native Azalea Collection currently contains 16 of the 17 species of the country’s native azaleas. Credit goes to the late Dr. John Creech, the North Carolina Arboretum director, for the National Native Azalea Collection’s formation and research.

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The collection began in 1988 as Creech developed the idea of a national repository for native azaleas at the conservatory. Creech called for azalea research and field studies. Several years later, paired with another former director of horticulture Rich Owings, and together they collected azalea seeds from Gregory Bald, an area in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Also, they collected species and cultivated varieties that yielded over 60 plants that started the arboretum’s native collection.

In 1992 the first plants took root along Bent Creek. The site offered the right combination of sandy soils and sunny upland slopes from the stream.

The collection is recognized for its commitment to global plant conservation by the Plant Collection National Network. The arboretum still holds this honor today as being recognized for its standards of excellence in plant collection management and its enduring commitment to global plant conservation.

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Just south of Asheville, adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the North Carolina Arboretum’s 434-acre public gardens have been a respite for travelers seeking beauty and serenity in the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains.

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For classes and special events, visit the arboretum’s website. Space is limited for the classes and walking tours, so advance registration is encouraged. Pre-registered guests must check-in at the Baker Information Desk 10 minutes before the scheduled program to keep their spot. Pre-registration is online, or guests can also sign up in person at the front desk.

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National Native Azalea Collection garden hours are from May to November from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.


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Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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