WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A new water garden feature will be unveiled this weekend during a big plant sale at the New Hanover County Arboretum.
The seven-acre site serves as a horticultural wonderland and has many special features, including a Japanese garden with a tea house and winding stream, a magical children's garden, and the contemplation garden that opened last year with its salute to the military.
But water is also a special feature of the arboretum, housing one of the largest water gardens in North Carolina.
"Well, the sound of water is a very soothing thing. A lot of people like that in the garden," said Al Hight, Director of the New Hanover County Arboretum. "In an intimate garden, you don't need a huge feature, but anything that you have that moving water and gives you that sound makes it a nice, calming part of the garden and makes a great addition"
The latest water feature at the arboretum showcases a giant pineapple fountain designed by Andy Cobb, the man who created the Ribbit Exhibit at Airlie Gardens.
"The pineapple is the symbol of welcome and they wanted to have something at the front gate to welcome people to the garden here, so we discussed it, we went back and forth on sizes, so I went back to the studio and it took about a month, but we have an 80-inch pineapple here," Cobb said.
Volunteer Valerie DeSanti donated money to build the fountain in honor of her mother who passed away in September 2016.
"I wanted to remember her because I think she would have liked this fountain, and it is a chance for her to be in a place that she loved," DeSanti said.
Adding new gardens and water features are just part of the future plans for the New Hanover County Arboretum.
Community support for the facility was growing in the early 1980s. When a fire destroyed Bradley Creek School, commissioners turned the undamaged buildings into the arboretum and home for the New Hanover County Cooperative Extension Service.
But because of the area's growth, more room is needed for the staff and volunteers.
"We are toying with the idea of a capital campaign," High said. "Our buildings are old. They are outdated and we certainly need to update and modernize that area, so we are hoping that within the next couple of years to be able to raise enough money to have one building on a smaller footprint that would replace all three of what we have now, just a much better facility in support of extension and the gardens."
The Master Gardeners help raise funds for the gardening projects with their annual spring plant sale that is taking place Thursday through Sunday at the arboretum on Oleander Drive.