It was developed in 1886 as a private garden for the Pembroke Jones family by Mrs. Jones. The name ‘Airlie’ was stemmed from the Jones’ family home in Scotland. It was designed as a lush, flowing, naturalistic Southern garden, with thousands of azaleas, camellias, magnolias, palms, and wisteria. German landscape architect Rudolf Topel, changed the garden to an attractive garden. In 1999, it was purchased by New Hanover County.
In 2018, more than 300 trees were felled due to Hurricane Florence. Airlie Gardens (https://treeservicewilmingtonnc.com) is a 67-acre (27 ha) public garden in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Airlie Gardens is a participating member of the American Horticultural Society and uses mutual admission for other gardens, arboreta, and conservatories. African-American folk artist Minnie Evans was the Airlie Gardens admissions gatekeeper for a variety of years. In 1954, Evans created an oil on the wood painting titled Airlie Oak, which is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Learn about the Bellamy Mansion Museum.