NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The New Hanover County Arboretum will recognize milestone anniversaries – 20 years of the Ability Garden, 30 years of the Arboretum and 40 years of the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program– with a free celebration on Saturday, October 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Arboretum at 6206 Oleander Drive in Wilmington.
Guests are welcome to enjoy a day in the beautiful gardens and reminisce about the successes of the programs at the Arboretum, home to New Hanover County’s NC Cooperative Extension Services. Tours of the gardens will be provided and guests can purchase Italian ice from a local vendor. Extension Master Gardener volunteers will offer free consultation at the Plant Clinic, and the gift shop will also be open.
“We are delighted to celebrate our rich history of serving the residents of New Hanover County with Ability Garden programs, Extension Master Gardener services and a beautiful Arboretum,” said New Hanover County Cooperative Extension and Arboretum Director Lloyd Singleton. “We have a bright future ahead, and invite you along as we continue to serve.”
About the Ability Garden – 20 Year Anniversary
The Ability Garden, founded in 1999 as a Friends of the Arboretum program, features garden-based programs for people with disabilities. Therapeutic gardening helps people improve mobility, motor skills, cognitive functions and overall health, and clients experience the joy of successful gardening and working with others in a structured and safe environment. The Ability Garden features a fully accessible, hands-on teaching garden, a year-round greenhouse, raised growing beds, classrooms, mobile furniture and gardening tools. Workshops and consultation are available. Contact the Ability Garden at 910-798-7660 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Arboretum – 30 Year Anniversary
The Arboretum grew out of the vision of Dr. Charles E. “Pete” Lewis, who was the county’s Cooperative Extension Director from 1979 to 1989, and a group of dedicated people who shared his dream. In the late 1970s, the county was shifting from a rural farming county to a rapidly developing urban center, and Cooperative Extension saw a need to expand programming to meet the needs of both consumer and commercial horticulture. In February 1984 New Hanover County Commissioners appropriated $200,000 to turn the former Bradley Creek School site into a home for the Arboretum and Extension Service. After four years of hard work by countless volunteers, the New Hanover County Arboretum formally opened on October 5, 1989. Today the beautiful seven-acre site serves as a “horticultural laboratory” with special features like the Japanese Garden and tea house, Children’s Garden, rose garden and herb garden that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. The gardens are open each day from dawn to dusk, and admission is always free except for select special events. Learn more at Arboretum.NHCgov.com or call 910-798-7660.
About the NC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program – 40 Year Anniversary
Founded in 1979, the New Hanover County Master Gardener Volunteer Program has more than 170 members who volunteer thousands of hours each year providing information to the community and helping make the Arboretum gardens beautiful. Extension Master Gardener volunteers answer questions in the Plant Clinic and on the clinic’s hotline; provide gardening education to groups through a speakers bureau; help maintain the demonstration gardens by planting, weeding, mulching and pruning; and hold major plant sales that help fund educational projects at the Arboretum. Contact the Extension Master Gardener Plant Clinic at 910-798-7679.
Lloyd Singleton, Cooperative Extension Director