When Gardening is Cheaper Than Therapy

Therapy Garden at Bullington Gardens.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

No one who’s visited Bullington Gardens can miss the serene, Asian-inspired Therapy Garden located on the property. The installation acts as a host for many native plant and animal species, while the gentle cascade of the water feature completes the tranquility.

“We have goldfish and Pleco fish who eat the algae,” says Educational Director John Murphy, who also mentions toads, tadpoles, and, more recently, “a leopard frog that just started coming to the pond.” He adds, “[The eggs and tadpoles] that you can see in the spring are a source of constant fascination with our students.”

Framed by a large ginkgo tree, the waterlily-filled pond is surrounded by Pitcher Plants, ferns, Mountain Doghobble, and a variety of grass tufts — all native to North Carolina. Even the rocks at the pond were sourced locally. (The Japanese Maple tree is one of the few nonnative species.)

“This is a place for visitors to relax, and it’s where we would normally conduct our Horticultural Therapy programs five times a week,” says Murphy. “We haven’t been doing the programs this year because of COVID. We are going to be changing out the Therapy Garden soon to plant fall-interest plants, and, later, we will plant tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs for the spring.”

Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville. The gardens are open Monday-Friday, 9am-4:30 pm, all year long. Bullington closes on Saturdays during the winter months. Their Annual Holiday Sale & Open House will take place in late Nov. and early Dec., offering Christmas trees, wreaths, holiday crafts, and Christmas plants. For more information, visit bullingtongardens.org or call 828-698-6104.

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