3/21/2013 - Asheville Adventure of the Week: Spring at Arboretum
by Karen Chavez - Asheville Citizen Times
What: Celebrate spring's arrival with a hike, garden stroll or the WNC Orchid Society Show at N.C. Arboretum.
When: Orchid show is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Arboretum grounds and gardens are open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, with entrance gates closing at 6 p.m.
Where: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, at Milepost 393 on Blue Ridge Ridge Parkway.
Cost: Shows and events are free for Arboretum Society members or with parking fee of $8 per personal vehicle.
Details: Spring -- in theory, anyway -- arrived Wednesday morning in Western North Carolina. Even if the actual events want to keep believing it's winter outside, celebrate in the best possible way with a visit to the N.C. Arboretum, where spring is definitely making an effort.
"Some of the things that people might see in bloom this weekend, besides the orchids, are a lot of our spring bulbs," said Allison Inman, arboretum marketing coordinator.
"Daffodils are in full bloom, the crocus and the dwarf iris are already blooming, our hyacinths are just starting to show some hints of purple and pink, and the blossoms on cherry trees in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden are beginning to open up. We're hoping the cold weather forecast for the weekend doesn't get to them."
The cultivated gardens are the best places to take a stroll in search of early spring color this weekend, including the Plants of Promise Garden, adjacent to the Visitor Education Center. There are also 10 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Try the Natural Garden Trail, a 3/4-mile loop from the Plants of Promise Garden to the north end of the Core Area Gardens on a gently graded, natural surface.
And, if the weather is just too unspringlike to be outdoors, you can still soak in flower power at the WNC Orchid Society show. The theme of the show is the "Lost World of Orchids" and will include world-class orchid growers from around the country providing growing advice, vendors selling plants and supplies, and educational programs.
There are other indoor opportunities, including the Ann Vasilik watercolor exhibit on display at the Baker Center and the Nancy G. Cook Textile Art exhibit at the Education Center Gallery.
Directions: From Asheville, take Interstate 26 East to Exit 33 (Blue Ridge Parkway/Brevard Road/N.C 191). Turn left onto N.C. 191 and go two miles. Turn right at the light and the entrance sign.
Information: Call 665-2492 or visit www.ncarboretum.org to register.