The Master Gardener Plant Sale, which runs for five days during the spring, is one of the largest plant sales in the Southeast, more than double the size of similar events at several elite private gardens.  Proceeds from the sale provide the major funding for programs of the New Hanover County Master Gardeners including educational additions to the Arboretum grounds, 4-H program needs, the Speaker’s Bureau, the Remote Plant Clinic, and educational grants for local schools and organizations.

Friends of the Arboretum members have a half-day preview sale before the public opening, enabling them to get first choice of limited quantity selections. 

Many of the plants are propagated here on site and the remainder of the material comes from local growers and is acclimated to our area’s conditions, giving it a head start over plants purchased from many other sources.  Master Gardeners are on hand at all times to help you get the right plant for the right place, a key to gardening success.

The plant selection is huge:

  • shrubs and ornamental plants
  • annuals and perennials
  • herbs and vegetables
  • azaleas, including reblooming Encores
  • And many varieties of Japanese maples in all shapes, sizes, colors, and leaf structures.

During the event the Arboretum volunteer carpenter crew is  on hand with their ingenious and inexpensive handcrafted garden creations–bird houses, plant stands, potting tables.

More than 350 volunteers are required to make the Plant Sale happen.  Fortunately, the sale occurs during one of the most beautiful times of the year at the Arboretum, which helps make all the hard work much more enjoyable.

For questions or additional information, contact the Arboretum at 798-7660.

This free, family-friendly festival celebrates Cape Fear area native plants and helps attendees learn how to incorporate them into their own garden plans.

The Annual Native Plant Festival has been redesigned, so attendees can learn about and buy native plants while honoring safety guidelines surrounding COVID-19. This year’s festival will have an online component and an outdoor component. On Saturday the festival will offer a day of virtual presentations by seven local horticultural experts, which can be enjoyed from home. The festival will also offer a self-guided tour of area nurseries that sell native plants.


Self-Guided Tour

To avoid attracting crowds to a single location, many of the nurseries that normally sell plants during the festival will instead invite the public to their farms and nurseries, to view and purchase native plants and to see where they’re grown. A tour map, available online at, indicates hours each location is open. Pop-up windows on the map also indicate when you can buy from these sellers throughout the year.

Participating plant sellers will be Five Oaks Nursery & Tree Farm, Lloyd’s Nursery, and Transplanted Garden. Shelton Herb Farm is on the tour, with an impressive list of more than 55 species, and has invited Lumber River Nursery and Grizz’s Nursery to sell their plants on her farm the day of the event. Going Native Gardens will pre-sell five species of native perennial starting September 10, with pick-up at Wild Bird & Garden’s Wilmington location the day of the Festival. Wild Bird & Garden will sell items to support birds, bees, and bird-watching fans. An interactive map, found at, shows where to find all the locations.

The tour map also lists locations of some Community Landscapes where one can see native plants used in local landscaping. Some of these are public gardens; others are places where native plants have been used to beautify storefronts and common areas. The New Hanover County Arboretum is one of the stops on the tour, where participants can tour the Native Plant Garden. This demonstration garden, dedicated to native plants of coastal North Carolina, makes it easy for visitors to visualize how these plants might look like in their own yards. All community landscape locations are available to visit year-round, at no cost.


Virtual Presentations:

Horticultural experts will give presentations on a variety of plant-related topics. Their online presentations are now available for viewing on This year’s presenters are: Camilla Herlevich, Paul Hosier, Trena McNabb, Beth Sheppard, Roger Shew, Lloyd Singleton, and Becky Skiba, with a special showing of a previous presentation by Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home.  

Speaker presentations can be found on by searching “Cape Fear Native Plant Festival 2020” or searching by presentation name. The direct links to the presentations and date of Zoom Q&A appear at the end of this posting.

Q&A sessions are being scheduled with each of the speakers for two weeks later, October 2–4; this way, viewers can watch the presentations on their own timetable, but still have a chance to ask questions of the presenter via Zoom. Email charley@ncwildflower.orgto request Zoom details for attending the speaker Q&A sessions. 

Plans are being formalized for additional activities, to include environmental activities for children, and an online raffle, with prizes of native plants. Bookmarks listing links to fun activities for children will be distributed to the first several visitors to each plant seller location.

The Native Plant Festival is sponsored by: New Hanover County Arboretum, NC Cooperative Extension, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, Cape Fear Audubon Society, Southeast Coastal Chapter of NC Native Plant Society, Halyburton Park, and Cape Fear’s Going Green.

Visit this website or updated information as it becomes available, or call (910)547-4390.


The 2020 Presentations, available now, are:

Fostering a Healthy Soil Microbiome – Lloyd Singleton

Q&A Zoom with Lloyd on Oct 3, 10 AM


Branching out, Planting beyond the Norm – Beth Sheppard

Q&A Zoom with Beth on Oct 4, 3:30 PM


Natural Areas of SE North Carolina – Roger Shew

Q & A Zoom with Roger on Oct 2, 9AM


Exploring Coastal Native Plants – Dr. Paul Hosier

Q&A Zoom with Paul on Oct 4, 2 PM


Bringing Nature Home – Doug Tallamy

There will not be a Q&A.


What, Why, & When – Trena Mc Nabb

Q&A Zoom with Trena on Oct 2, 2PM


Top 40 Coastal Conservation Projects  – Camilla Herlevich

Q&A Zoom with Camilla on Oct 2, 11 AM


Gardening For Wildlife – Becky Skiba

Q&A Zoom with Becky on Oct 2, 4 PM


Tall purple flower

The Friends of the Arboretum have secured some unique tree species, like Pawpaw, Japanese Persimmon, and Rising Sun Redbud that can be hard to locate. A wide variety of trees, mostly native, flowering and/or fruiting range will range from 3-15 gallons in size. Trees are lovingly hand-selected by volunteers that are landscape professionals.

Due to Covid-19, trees are available by delivery only.
General public pay a small $35 delivery fee (40-mile radius)
Friends of the Arboretum members receive free delivery (40-mile radius) and 10% off on all tree purchases. (Memberships begin at $30)

Delivery – week of Nov. 1 – 8 

Sales open Sept. 20 online at .                The BeFriend a Tree Sale is a fundraiser for the NHC Arboretum and
all proceeds go to support the gardens. 

Online pumpkin carving contest

With more than 1,400 attendees and more than 120 pumpkins, the
inaugural 4-H Pumpkin-Palooza in 2019 exceeded all expectations
in attendance and carved pumpkins. However, due to COVID-19,
the 2020 pumpkin-carving contest is going virtual.
Enter your carved pumpkin in the virtual contest and see the many
other fun and spooky pumpkins in the 4-H Pumpkin-Palooza
contest. For more information, go to 4-H Website


25th Annual Art in the Arboretum-Virtual Show and Sale

Art in the Arboretum is going virtual. It has been one of the most spectacular, in-person, must-see art festivals in the SouthEast. This year Covid-19 restrictions have forced us to make some changes and take the show online which has allowed us to incorporate some new offerings including studio tours and artist demonstrations.

The show will continue to bring together outstanding artists from around the area and features a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, 2D and 3D mixed media, photography, and more.

The event will launch on November 6th and run until December 17th. Check back often as the artists have the option to update their gallery and offer additional art for sale. Visit starting Nov 6th.

2020 Prospectus

Registration Instructional Video

New Artist Registration

Returning Artist Registration


For questions contact our 4-H agent — J. Scott Enroughty at 910-798-7669 or



Annual Holiday Sale to Benefit the Ability Garden


Our plants make unique teacher, host and friendship gifts. These plants are grown by our participants who are living with various disabilities and attend sessions with the Ability Garden to help them reach their personal goals.   All proceeds go back into the community, giving the Ability Garden the opportunity bring people and plants together.





NC Cooperative Extension and Arboretum: 6206 Oleander Drive • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7660 • Fax 910-798-7678
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