Visit: Airlie Gardens

If you've read my recent posts, you may have caught on to the fact that my grandmother came to visit a of couple weeks ago. Grandma and I had a wonderful time and we visited a number of places around coastal Carolina that I had been wanting to get to for a while now, places that I'd love to share with you! 

The first place I'd like to share is a historic 67 acre garden in the city of Wilmington called Airlie Gardens

The Airlie Oak, 1545. This tree is massive and so incredibly impressive, the photo by no means does it justice!

Originally part of a massive land grant from King George II in 1735,  the property wasn't gardened until 1901 and reached it's peak in the 1920s. According to the Airlie Garden website, during the twenties the garden boasted "over a half million azaleas and 5,000 camellias" many of those lovely flowers still remain, though since we were visiting so late in the season, none were in bloom.

A 1948 Hugh Morton photo of the first ever Azalea Festival Queen, Jacqueline White, under the Airlie Oak.
In 1952 White starred in the film noir The Narrow Margin.
To see another wonderful shot of White under this tree click here

Grandma stands in awe of the Bottle Chapel 
Also in the garden is the Bottle Chapel and sculpture garden dedicated to Airlie's resident artist, Minnie Evans. More photos of the Bottle Chapel can be viewed here.

Minnie Evans and her art work. Minnie was the Garden's gatekeeper from 1949-74.

Doesn't this garden look like something from a magazine?! And of course every tree in the garden is absolutely dripping with moss- gosh I do love the South for its mossiness!

When I took this photograph I was walking away from my favorite spot in the garden, the pergola.

It's now wonder this is a popular wedding spot, can't you just see a bride floating down this sun dappled walkway?
The pergola was added in 1904 and much of the original structure remains. At the end of the walkway is a lovely siting area and fountain by the side of Airlie Lake; It was such a lovely spot to sit and imagine what wonderful gatherings must have taken place here. I of course took more of photographs of this spot, see here.

Airlie Gardens was a wonderful way to spend the morning. Grandma and I walked the entire garden tour and it was really lovely- possibly the highlight of her entire visit. If you, like me, love a good old fashioned garden, I most definitely recommend a visit here if you're ever in the area. 
I am excited to visit the garden in different seasons especially late winter and spring, when the camellias and azaleas are in bloom! Plus, at a cost of five dollars per visitor, I won't break the bank returning time and time again. 

To see more photos from our visit to Airlie Gardens, see here

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