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Visiting Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Tucked in the hustle and bustle of Charlotte, Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary provides a return and connection to nature that is wrapped in a story of love and commitment. Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson lived an incredible love story that forged an urban oasis for nature and nature lovers. The grounds of the garden feel intimate while encouraging visitors to slow down and enjoy the sounds and sights all around. This secret garden feels like a portal to another time, as one can focus on the sound of the breeze in the branches above, the industrious work of the birds and squirrels, and the scents of the blooming flowers that awaken senses of delight that may have been in hibernation for far too long.

The home that Edwin built for Elizabeth, to her specifications no less, continues to stand with authority and grace on Ridgewood Avenue, a testament to the shared dream they had of their future together and the importance of creating space for the event the smallest that nature offers. The three acres feel much larger, as the paths encourage visitors to take a turn this way or that, for either side will not disappoint. You’ll lose time meandering around the plants, finding yourself remembering gardens and people of your past. It feels too special to rush and yet, time passes quickly without notice. Every part of you engages in this tour of the gardens, and you may find yourself both refreshed and tired from the stimulation of your senses. It is that “good tired” one feels when the only activation of the nervous system has been pleasant and fulfilling.

Read the Journals of Elizabeth Clarkson, dating from February 1933 to November 1951.

Don’t forget to visit the Elizabeth Lawrence Home and Garden (check out my visit), as it is included in the admission of Wing Haven.

Elizabeth was a concert pianist, and her performances at the piano were a delight in their home. The piano takes center stage in the front room, as it is the first thing one sees upon entering the home. The window to the back tucks into the wall, allowing Elizabeth to roll her piano outside to play for visitors on the back lawn. A bird caregiver, she often played the piano with birds resting on her arms as she danced upon the keys. One would expect nothing less from this dynamic duo who gave their all to the animals and land they loved.

Back of the house. Elizabeth would roll her piano out onto the patio.
Side of the house reflected in the koi pond.

One of my favorite items to look for are the quotations that are sprinkled around the property.

Discover more about this hidden gem in our beautiful city of Charlotte! There are a number of books available about the property and the Elizabeth Lawrence Home and Garden down the road.

Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence–A Friendship in Letters

No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence

A Garden of One’s Own: Writings of Elizabeth Lawrence

Through the Garden Gate

The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens

Gardens in Winter

A Rock Garden in the South

Lob’s Wood

Birds of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County North Carolina

Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence: Discovered Letters of a Southern Gardener

Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence

Clemson has a beautifully written garden profile available for reading.

Price: $10 for ages 11 and older; 10 and younger are free; an annual membership is also available

Be sure to keep up with their events, as they host many of them, including FREE Admission days like the one coming up on Earth Day!

Wing Haven is a 501(c)(3) organization.

“Wing Haven’s purpose is to maintain and develop its
properties located in Charlotte, North Carolina as a garden and bird sanctuary for the use, education,
and enjoyment of the community and to stimulate interest in horticulture.” Wing Haven Foundation, Inc.