Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

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Wing Haven Gardens & Bird Sanctuary (nearly 3 acres) is located on Ridgewood Avenue in Charlotte, NC and operated by the 501(C)(3) Wing Haven Foundation Charlotte, North Carolina. The gardens are open several hours a week, year-round; admission is free to Wing Haven Members; $10 adults; children 10 and under free. Wing Haven offers environmental education programs, events and lectures annually for children and adults.

The original garden was begun in 1927 by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson around their house. In 1971, they donated the garden and house to the Wing Haven Foundation. The Clarksons remained in the home until 1988. Wing Haven’s original Clarkson Garden is the Charlotte area’s only designated garden and bird sanctuary listed as a local historic landmark by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmark Commission, certified as Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and named an eBird hotspot by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. Elizabeth Clarkson was founder of the Mecklenburg County Audubon Society.

The garden plan resembles a Cross of Lorraine with its long path crossed by two shorter, perpendicular paths, and the house sited between the shorter paths. It contains a number of pools and fountains, and is well-planted with a wide variety of ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers. The garden also contains an English sundial from 1705, various terra cotta pieces, dozens of plaques including one with a poem by Japanese pacifist and reformer Toyohiko Kagawa, statuary including one of Saint Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners.

In 2008, Wing Haven purchased the Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden at 348 Ridgewood Avenue. The Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in the Smithsonian Institute’s Archives of American Gardens, as 1 of only 15 Preservation Partner Gardens of the Garden Conservancy, and is also designated as a historic site by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Landmarks Commission. Today, with the long-ago loss of Elizabeth Lawrence’s Raleigh garden and the demolition in 2004 of the house in North Carolina’s capital which was her home from 1916 to 1948, her house and garden at 348 Ridgewood Avenue is the single property associated with her long and important career as a plantswoman and writer. Her home and garden from 1949 to 1984 holds significance in the history of Charlotte, the state, and the nation. (Davyd Foard Hood, Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Preservation Report 30 June 2005)

Wing Haven harbors several champion trees. In 2013, Wing Haven’s magnificent Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) at a diameter of 67 in., height of 130 ft. and a spread of 50 ft. became a Treasure Tree and Jewel of the Queen’s Crown as awarded by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, who started the formal Treasure Tree program in Mecklenburg County. The Elizabeth Lawrence Garden’s Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) is one of the original trees of the Treasure Tree Program, and is the largest recorded Japanese stewartia in Mecklenburg County. In 2000, Wing Haven’s Pin Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus) was nominated as the nation’s largest specimen of its species growing in the United States only to be surpassed in 2009 by a specimen in Texas.


See also[edit]

  • Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary (3 acres) are non-profit gardens and a bird sanctuary located at 248 Ridgewood Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina. They are open several hours a week, year-round; admission is $6 per non-member adult.

The garden was begun in 1927 by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson around their house. In 1970 they donated it to the Wing Haven Foundation. The Clarksons remained in the home until 1988.

The garden plan resembles a Cross of Lorraine with its long path crossed by two shorter, perpendicular paths, and the house sited between the shorter paths. It contains a number of pools and fountains, and is well-planted with a wide variety of ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers. The garden also contains an English sundial from 1705, various terra cotta pieces, a plaque with a poem by Japanese pacifist and reformer Toyohiko Kagawa, and a statue of Saint Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°10′44″N 80°50′27″W / 35.1790°N 80.8409°W / 35.1790; -80.8409