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North Carolina

A Gardener’s Delight: The Private & Public Landscapes of Asheville

Program No. 21968RJ
Come to Asheville to witness some of the nation’s most renowned gardens and landscapes as you explore the Biltmore Estate, North Carolina Arboretum and several private gardens.

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 14 - Apr 19, 2024
Starting at
949
Apr 28 - May 3, 2024
Starting at
949
May 19 - May 24, 2024
Starting at
949
May 26 - May 31, 2024
Starting at
949
Filling Fast!
Aug 25 - Aug 30, 2024
Starting at
949
Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
Starting at
949
Sep 22 - Sep 27, 2024
Starting at
949
Filling Fast!
Sep 29 - Oct 4, 2024
Starting at
949
Apr 13 - Apr 18, 2025
Starting at
1,099
May 11 - May 16, 2025
Starting at
1,099
May 18 - May 23, 2025
Starting at
1,099
Aug 10 - Aug 15, 2025
Starting at
1,099
Sep 7 - Sep 12, 2025
Starting at
1,099
Sep 14 - Sep 19, 2025
Starting at
1,099
Sep 28 - Oct 3, 2025
Starting at
1,099
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 14 - Apr 19, 2024
Starting at
1,159
Apr 28 - May 3, 2024
Starting at
1,159
May 19 - May 24, 2024
Starting at
1,159
May 26 - May 31, 2024
Starting at
1,159
Filling Fast!
Aug 25 - Aug 30, 2024
Starting at
1,159
Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
Starting at
1,159
Filling Fast!
Sep 22 - Sep 27, 2024
Starting at
1,159
Filling Fast!
Sep 29 - Oct 4, 2024
Starting at
1,159
Apr 13 - Apr 18, 2025
Starting at
1,319
May 11 - May 16, 2025
Starting at
1,319
May 18 - May 23, 2025
Starting at
1,319
Aug 10 - Aug 15, 2025
Starting at
1,319
Sep 7 - Sep 12, 2025
Starting at
1,319
Sep 14 - Sep 19, 2025
Starting at
1,319
Sep 28 - Oct 3, 2025
Starting at
1,319

At a Glance

Since Frederick Law Olmsted designed the landscape for George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in the late 19th century, the people of Asheville, N.C. have prided themselves on the gardens and natural beauty of the region. Join local experts as they share their botanical knowledge and lead explorations to public spaces including the Biltmore Estate, the North Carolina Arboretum and the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. Then, enjoy guided visits to several private gardens owned by local residents.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to one mile over uneven terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Spend an afternoon at the North Carolina Arboretum and admire its many gardens, including the Bonsai Pavilion — home to the largest collection of bonsais (seasonal) in the Southeast.
  • Enjoy guided visits to several private gardens in Asheville and the surrounding area, and walk the impressive grounds of the Biltmore Estate.
  • Admire the flora of the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, home to 600 species of plants native to the Southern Appalachian region and 50 rare plants including Pale Yellow Trillium (blooms in early spring).

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Opportunities are available for traveling companions to attend a different program at Montreat during the same week.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Bobbie Pell
Bobbie Pell, a trained naturalist with a degree in outdoor environmental education, shares her love of nature, conservation, and everything floral. She is completing a UNC Certificate of Merit in eco-gardening through the NC Arboretum. A professional artist for over 15 years, she blends basic artistic design elements with information gained from research, readings, and garden courses by Audubon and the National Wildlife Federation. She offers opportunities to make holistic, artistic connections with nature, sculpting home gardens into spaces of serenity and beauty.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tracy Bailey
Tracy Bailey View biography
Tracy has been on the program staff of Montreat Conference Center since 1986. She began working with Elderhostel programs in 1989, and in 1997 assumed the additional role of on-site coordinator. A native of the area, she graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Technical College in 1981. Her favorite hobbies are hiking, pottery and reading. Tracy married Sam in 2007, and added three daughters to her family. In addition to her own grown children, she and Sam have been foster parents since 2010. They have four grandchildren.
Profile Image of Bobbie Pell
Bobbie Pell View biography
Bobbie Pell, a trained naturalist with a degree in outdoor environmental education, shares her love of nature, conservation, and everything floral. She is completing a UNC Certificate of Merit in eco-gardening through the NC Arboretum. A professional artist for over 15 years, she blends basic artistic design elements with information gained from research, readings, and garden courses by Audubon and the National Wildlife Federation. She offers opportunities to make holistic, artistic connections with nature, sculpting home gardens into spaces of serenity and beauty.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Landscaping with Wildflowers: An Environmental Approach to Gardening
by Wilson, Jim
To give your garden that sense of natural growth within planned parameters, this book focuses on the natural world as whole, allowing the flowers to attract pollinators and provide shelter during the seasons for wildlife. Gardening for specific habitats such as wetlands, grass lands, meadows, and prairies are highlighted. The second half of the book is encyclopedic in nature with plant soil preferences, color, height, and growing seasons to aid the gardener in making the best choices for their home gardens.
Art and Nature: An Illustrated Anthology of Nature Poetry
by Metropolitan Museum of Art, ed by Kate Farrell
A magical journey to the heart through the pairing of words and imagery by classical writer and artists. This book is a visual feast for the reader as page after page reveals Master paintings collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the various hues and tones of color, deepening the experience with the selected poems.
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials.
by Phillips, Ellen and C.Colston Burrell
This source is arranged in three parts: Designing the Perennial Garden (principles and combinations), Growing Perennials (crucial tips), and the Encyclopedia, arranged alphabetically by genus with specific information for variants within the species. This book is an invaluable tool when planning a garden by providing tips on preparing the site, blooming seasons, height, and bloom variations.
Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes
by Rainer, Thomas and Claudia West
A must for any gardener, this resource reviews the natural archetypes which can be mirrored in gardens by using aesthetically pleasing design principles. Using natural habitats, this book reviews plant choices and how to manage a plant community, even in your own backyard!
DEVOTION: Diary of an Appalachian Garden
by Durham, Mignon
Blog about building her garden WEBSITE: https://mignondurham.com/?page_id=12.





Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.