This week's Fact Friday comes to you from historic Winghaven's website, as well as Wikipedia.
Just a few generations ago two extraordinary women named Elizabeth lived and gardened just down the street from one another. Together, they made Ridgewood Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the most famous addresses in Southern garden history. Their legacy continues with the addition of an outdoor exploration garden to enhance our guest experience.
The property of Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson, Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary, is a respite for birds and other wildlife and a welcoming place to discover the beauty and wonders of nature.
Ten houses down on the same side of the street, the property of internationally celebrated garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence, the Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden, is a dynamic living laboratory featuring an amazing variety of plants with something in bloom every day of the year.
Together, these vibrant historic and newer properties are known as Wing Haven, a unique destination that inspires passion for the natural world.
Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary was begun in 1927 by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson. 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. There have been over 150 species of birds sighted at the property over the years. Elizabeth Clarkson helped establish the Mecklenburg County Audubon Society.
In 2008, Wing Haven purchased the Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden at 348 Ridgewood Avenue. Noted author and landscape architect Elizabeth Lawrence lived in the home when she moved to Charlotte. The house and garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in the Smithsonian Institution'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).
In 2018, Wing Haven added the Student Environmental Education and Discovery (SEED) Wildlife Garden, designed to keep the dedicated vision of our garden creators alive by providing an additional place for visitor learning and enjoyment. The central focus is birdlife, seen as a marker of a healthy, diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals — especially small critters attractive to children. The redesigned Children’s Garden at Wing Haven provides a space for intensive production in raised beds. In-ground beds throughout the space include permanent edibles, including fruiting shrubs and trees.
My son has actually volunteered at Winghaven, but I've never been. I can't wait to make my first visit! Check out more history about the property and its founders on their website, along with ways you can support the mission of this true Charlotte gem!
Until next week!
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“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin