In 2003 the Village Heritage Foundation, with the support of the Pinehurst Village Council, launched a project to develop an Arboretum on a 35-acre undeveloped village-owned site which is adjacent to the Pinehurst Village Hall. The Foundation accepted the challenge to design the project, raise the funds, and manage the development and construction process.
Our first, and essential, bit of good fortune was when Larry Best, founder of award-winning design firm LandDesign, volunteered to create the design. His vision was for the Village Arboretum to be a rebirth of Fredrick Law Olmsted’s design of Pinehurst established in 1895. The site was challenging. It featured a small stream that separated two slopes. A heavily wooded area lined the creek on the West side, and beyond that were the remains of a longleaf pine forest which had been destroyed by fire many years ago. On the other side of the creek, and adjacent to the Village Hall, was an overgrown field that covered an old, abandoned landfill.
On this scruffy site, Larry Best created a beautiful design that featured trails and bridges along the creek, 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. The next challenge was to raise the funds, which necessitated completing the project in phases. Our most important gift was a contribution of $125,000 from the Pinehurst Resort in August, 2005. That gift brought much needed attention and credibility to the project and enabled us to complete the first phase, the Magnolia Garden, which features an acre lawn surrounded by seventeen different varieties of Magnolia trees. There have been many other gifts, some small and many quite large. More than $1.5 million has been raised, entirely from private donations, mostly from individuals, but also a significant amount from companies, garden clubs and private foundations. The Arboretum Society was created to recognize contributions of $1,000 or more. There are currently more than 175 members of the Arboretum Society. Thirteen bronze plaques located throughout the Arboretum represent gifts of at least $20,000, some much more.
The Arboretum was essentially completed in 2014, but it has been in use since the completion of the Magnolia Garden. Walking trails and three rustic bridges connect to the Village Greenway System and are used daily for jogging, walking, and dog walking. The Pergola and Perennial Garden has been the site of many weddings. Joyce’s Meadow (named for our Founder, Joyce Franke), has been the site of a variety of activities, large and small, including concerts, antique auto shows, arts in the park, family movie night, Oktoberfest, Palustris events, and many more. The Longleaf Pine forest has been restored and is once again a part of the historic ecosystem that existed here for centuries. The Timmel Pavilion on the Meadow was one of the later additions, and it is now in regular use, both casual and organized. It is an especially attractive venue for wedding receptions and other celebrations. The last addition to the Arboretum was the Kraffert/Russo Flowering Tree Garden along the McCaskill Road border of the Arboretum. It features 40 varieties of flowering trees including Dogwoods, Peach trees, Cherry trees, Redbuds, Plum trees, Witch Hazel, Quince and Fig.
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We like to say that the Arboretum will never be complete. As it matures, and the trees grow each year, it looks more and more like it might have been here for decades and might have been designed by Mr. Olmsted himself. At least, we think he would approve.
For more information on renting the facilities at the Village Arboretum, please follow this link: www.vopnc.org/arboretum