Bullington Gardens

By: Dan Gibbs

Bullington Gardens is a public botanical garden in Hendersonville that has been around for about 30 years. It was originally started by retired New York City police officer Bob Bullington in 1979 as Flora Knoll Farms when he and his wife retired to Hendersonville. 

When Mr. Bullington passed away in 1989 the property became the Bullington Horticultural Center and it evolved into Bullington Gardens and is a partnership of Henderson County Public Schools and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. 

I had the opportunity to visit Bullington Gardens the other day and I was amazed that this gem was tucked away on a hillside and is in a constant state of a work in progress. Volunteers were hard at work on the grounds and was able to examine plant species that I had never seen before. 

The Gardens have many trails and themes spread throughout the property such as the Rain Garden, the Meditation Garden, and the Nature Trail. One of the more popular trails, the Fairy Trail, opens up 1 June 2021. They have benches and areas where you can sit and meditate or just enjoy some quiet time observing nature and the serenity that a garden brings. 

My favorite plant specimen was the Sargent’s Weeping Hemlock, an impressive tree with an interesting history. They were introduced when four specimens of this tree were found near Beacon, New York sometime in the 1850s. There were also several Japanese Maples that were spread throughout the Gardens. I plan on making a return trip when the Dahlias are in bloom in September. There is no admission charge to visit Bullington Gardens but donations are gratefully accepted and they are open 9-4 six days a week (closed on Sunday). They also have a website, bullingtongardens.org that you can access for more information and updates on special events.