Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 12
The GOOD WALK
North Carolina Arboretum
Delights for Sight and Stride
With surprises ranging from a collection of bonsai trees to delicious lunch fare, the Asheville
destination is pure pleasure.
Text by Leonard Adkins | Photos by Leonard & Laurie Adkins
"Yuck, I didn't know that's how they actually did that."
Asheville's North Carolina Arboretum has more than
10 miles of trails coursing through 434 acres, 65 of
which are landscaped gardens. Laurie and I had plotted
a circuitous route that let us wander through all of the
gardens while walking on at least some portion of most
of the pathways.
It was an interpretive plaque on the Carolina Mountain Trail describing how honey is made by bees regur-
Eateries in places such as botanical gardens and arboretums are
not usually known for the quality of their fare, often being not
much more than snack bars. Not so with the North Carolina Arboretum's Savory Thyme Café (savorythymecafe.com). Owners
Tony Smith and Jo De Rogers combine locally-sourced items into
innovative and tasty meals, such as Stuffles, which are waffles
made with stuffing and topped with turkey and gravy. The combination of salted caramel ice cream in a glass of cold brewed
coffee was a palate-pleasing way to end the meal.
Find out more about Leonard's walking and hiking adventures at
gitating nectar collected from flowers that got Laurie to
declare the idea kind of grossed her.
Grossness turned to amazement in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden. The trees here are not from some exotic
foreign land, but are native species of the Blue Ridge
Mountains. I pondered what care, patience and expertise it must take to create these masterpieces. Left to
grow naturally, they would have been full-sized trees,
but here they are miniatures of themselves, complete
with tiny leaves, needles, cones, gnarled tree trunks and
Other gardens also featured plants indigenous to the
region. The Stream Garden creates the effect of walking
along a small creek in western North Carolina, the Holly
Garden and National Native Azalea Collection exhibit
the great variety of the two genera, and the Heritage
Garden has plants used in traditional Southern Appalachian folk medicine or handicrafts. Interesting architecture, sculptures, and other artwork are placed throughout the gardens.
However, the bulk of the arboretum's acreage has
not been landscaped nor cultivated and it was here that
Laurie and I felt most at home. The aptly named Natural
Garden Trail led through a forest of normal-sized trees,
with interpretive signs providing information about