Spring in the Azalea Collection

Each spring visitors are drawn to the NC Arboretum’s National Native Azalea Collection to behold the singular beauty of azaleas in bloom. Visiting the National Native Azalea Collection, tucked into the forest alongside Bent Creek, is a unique opportunity to stroll through acres of mature azalea specimens, with 16 of North America’s 17 native azalea species growing alongside an array of cultivars and hybrids in a spectacle of color and fragrance.

What’s in bloom? Find out on our blog!

Native Azalea Day

April 29, 2023

In 2023, the Arboretum will host our first Native Azalea Day, an invitation to celebrate and experience azaleas through the eyes of plant enthusiasts, botanists, and artists. Look on as plein air artists capture the scene in paint and pen, or learn about the garden and its collection on a walking tour with the Native Azalea Collection Curator Carson Ellis

Guided walking tours will meet at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. on Bent Creek Road, at the entrance of the Azalea Collection. Participants should be prepared for a 30-minute walk over level pathways and are advised to dress for the weather and bring a water bottle.

Visitors can walk to the Azalea Collection from the Gatehouse Parking Lot using Old Mill Road to Bent Creek Road, or can park at the Baker Visitor Center and walk down Running Cedar Road to Bent Creek Road. Walkers should be prepared to travel one mile over unpaved roads and paths. A shuttle to the Collection will also be available, departing to and from the Baker Visitor Center throughout the event.

All activities are included with general admission fees.


  • ONSITE  | Tuesday, March 28, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

    $12 Non-member Adult (**Arboretum Members receive a 10% discount on all Adult & Continuing Education classes.)

    Join Patrick Thompson in a discussion about the importance of conserving native plant biodiversity and the role public gardens can play to help prevent species loss. As Curator of Special Collections at Auburn University’s Davis Arboretum and Coordinator of the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance, Patrick has been instrumental in the recovery of numerous species of rare and imperiled plants in Alabama and curates the Davis Arboretum’s Azalea Collection. Patrick will present on the history of the Davis Arboretum’s Azalea Collection, his experience developing the collection as a celebration of azalea diversity and beauty, and his perspectives on collection curation as a tool for conservation.


  • Native Azalea Day

    April 29 10:00am – 5:00pm

    Native Azalea Garden

    10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Plein Air Painters 
    10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Information Tables
    11:00 AM and 2:00 PM Garden Tours


    Shuttles will be available between the Baker Visitor Center and the Azalea Collection on the following schedule:

    Shuttle leaves

    Baker Visitor Center:

    Shuttle leaves

    Azalea Collection:

    10:30 AM 11:00 AM
    11:30 AM 12:00 PM
    12:30 PM 1:00 PM
    1:30 PM 2:00 PM
    2:30 PM 3:00 PM
    3:30 PM 4:00 PM
    4:30 PM 5:00 PM


    All events are free and open to the public. Standard parking fees apply.