The 17-acre site has 14 plant collections, dedicated display gardens, and a variety of structural features. A wide selection of plants offers many educational opportunities for children and adults, landscape designers and homeowners. The Greensboro Arboretum began as a joint venture between Greensboro Beautiful and the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department to provide the community with an outstanding collection of plants for learning and enjoyment. In the late 70’s, after the completion of the Bicentennial Garden, Greensboro Beautiful looked for another area to serve the community and attract visitors to Greensboro. The City of Greensboro offered 17 acres in Lindley Park – centrally located and easily accessible from all neighborhoods via major streets. It was also the site of the remains of the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs Project Anniversary Garden in the 50s. Greensboro Beautiful volunteer and Arboretum visionary Irene McIver suggested paying special attention to creating a landscape garden that takes advantage of the area’s natural topography, which ranges from steep, almost rocky slopes to flat, meadow-like plains. He also proposed building a garden around existing woodlands and open spaces and adding collections of woody plants marked for educational, recreational and general interest.
Greensboro Beautiful consulted with horticulture professors and NC State University and contracted Virginia Tech landscape architect and horticulture professor Robert McDuffie for the design and master plan. The plan included woody ground covers, trees, and shrubs grouped into collection areas indicated by habit, genus, color, growing conditions, and season. The selected plant species were particularly hardy to the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The plant material in each collection was separated by grassy areas and paved walkways to allow closer examination of the plants. Once the project was complete and construction began, McIver began asking the community for support. Local businesses and nurseries were particularly generous with plants and building materials. Memorial and honor donations were accepted, and trees and benches for the arboretum were donated. City employees were responsible for site preparation, drainage, watering, planting and maintenance. Construction began in 1986 and was completed in 1991. In recognition of her tireless dedication to the Greensboro Arboretum, Greensboro Beautiful named the grape collection in honor of Irene McIver.
Officially opened to the public in 1991, the garden has proven to be a regional treasure – a living art gallery, a learning laboratory for all ages and a unique place for a leisurely stroll. Since then, several special garden areas have been added for public education and wildlife habitat. The Greensboro Arboretum (17 acres) is an arboretum located in Lindley Park at 01 Ashland Drive, Greensboro, North Carolina. It is open to the public free of charge every day. The Arboretum has a landscaped area with labeled collections of plants, annuals and perennials, gazebo, gazebo and lighted fountain, including the following exhibits and collections: Butterfly Garden, Conifer Collection, Dwarf Conifer Collection (over 80 species of small conifers), Groundcover Collection, Holly Garden, Hosta Collection (about 200 hostas), Hydrophytic Collection, Rhododendron Garden (over 70 varieties), Rose Garden, Shade Shrub Collection, Small Tree Collection, Sun Shrub Collection, Grape Collection and Perennial Board, Wildflower Trail, Winter Garden Collection , Forest Trail.