North Carolina’s Sandhills region is known for, among other things, its bountiful offering of picturesque garden designs. Visitors and locals alike don’t have to go far to find inspiration at the hand of Mother Nature. We take our gardens seriously: When spring comes around, the Southern Pines Garden Club annually hosts the Home & Garden Tour, allowing exclusive access to the Sandhills’ gorgeous homes and gardens, while the Moore County Home Builders Association hosts an annual Spring Home & Garden Expo, as well.
Here are some of our favorite spots around the Pinehurst and Southern Pines area to enjoy some of nature’s most glorious beauty. Call it a “garden variety,” if you will:
Sandhills Horticultural Gardens
Located on the campus of Sandhills Community College, the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens feature 10 major gardens including the Ebersol Holly Collection — the largest on the East Coast — a specialized conifer garden, the Sir Walter Raleigh Garden (a 1-1/2-acre formal English garden), Hillside Garden, Azalea Garden and the Desmond Native Wetland Trail Garden. The immaculate and peaceful gardens, which cover 32 acres of designed space and natural areas, are open year round from dawn to sunset. Always something interesting blooming, so true garden connoisseurs will want to visit during each of the four seasons.
Weymouth Center Gardens
Open daily and free to the public, the Weymouth Gardens adorn what is now known as the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities and came into being in the early 1920s as part of the home of James Boyd, a popular writer during those days. The Friends of Weymouth acquired the property in 1976 and the house is now used as a writers’ retreat, as well as the site of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Two large sections, “The Poet’s Garden,” and “The Writer’s Retreat,” were planted especially for the writers’ benefit. Adlai Stevenson’s sister, Elizabeth Ives, and Helen Greene, a local gardener, restored the original gardens.
The Village Arboretum
Designed by Larry Best, founder of award-winning design firm LandDesign, on a scruffy and undeveloped, 35-acre, village-owned site adjacent to the Pinehurst Village Hall. The Village Arboretum was launched in 2003 by the Village Heritage Foundation, with support of the Pinehurst Village Council, and officially completed in 2014. Beautiful design features a restored longleaf pine forest, a large meadow, a perennial garden, a Magnolia garden, a Woodland Garden, a Flowering Tree Garden and an open-air pavilion. Walking trails along the creek and a trio of rustic bridges connect to the Village Greenway System.
Campbell House Park
Like the Weymouth Center, owes its existence to the Boyd family. Lovely, 14-acre public park and garden surrounding the Campbell House — a stately manor that functions today as an art gallery and cultural center. Beautifully landscaped property is the site of many outdoor weddings and events and is included in the annual House and Garden Tour. The park features a playground, basketball court, picnic tables, a tee-ball field with bleachers, a golf practice area and acres of open space.
The Healing Garden at FirstHealth of the Carolinas
Love of nature and the experience of caring for a loved one in the hospital led Lynda Acker and Cassie Willis to design The Healing Garden. Snuggled between the Clara McLean House and the Pinehurst Greenway Trail, inspired by classical English design and open daily from dawn to dusk. Paths lead to garden rooms with seating for quiet reflection, prayer or conversation, or to simply admire the view. The children’s garden offers fun and discovery with soft green turf dotted with large topiaries and life-size chess and checkerboards.