Can you see it? You have walked into something unmatchable. You are greeted with a smile accompanying a feeling of belonging, and then off you go. Fields and designs of unique and breathtaking plants shimmer their myriad of color, massive beech trees stretch up and canopy the sky, the crunches beneath your steps speak of the trail’s solitude, the song of water dances in the air, birds call out to say hello. You are walking in The Gardens. Here at The Gardens, you are wanted. Here at The Gardens, land isn’t just land: it’s an idea, it’s a vision. Open fields become organic produce gardens, orchards, and wildlife sanctuaries; ditches transform into rivers of endless possibilities; sunsets become accompanied with light shows as night blankets the 300 acres. Here at The Gardens, nature becomes our destination; experiences become our journey. Come and join us in the journey! We will be cultivating inspiration along the way because we have found that to stop and be inspired, to let the extravagance of not only what is but what could be, makes us come alive.
From The Gardens’ Founder: David Ritchie Johnson
Core Focus: Improving Lives with The Lord’s Guidance by Cultivating Inspiration
Improving lives are what The Gardens are all about. As the display gardens and nature trails are developed, this experience will improve the lives of our visitors and volunteers by cultivating inspiration. For some, the inspiration will be in admiring the simple elegance of a single flower, and for others, the overpowering color of one thousand petunias in bloom. Many will get lost in sweet fragrance or resplendent foliage. Perhaps it will be the magnitude of a mature Beech Tree or a two hour walk through our native hardwood forests. The sound of water cascading over rocks, the calm water in Washington Creek, and the diversity of other water features dancing throughout will be designed to inspire. Wildlife will show up in the form of butterflies, hummingbirds, deer, turkeys, and a multitude of birds. Nature’s inspiration is an abundant gift that we want everyone to experience here.
The Gardens will be a vital community resource that will improve the lives of our community and draw visitors from all over the state and country, and even international visitors will make it a destination. The Gardens will have a meaningful financial impact on the local economy; however, the impact will extend beyond finances. Experiences will be offered in education, entertainment, dining, worship, photography, music, health, family, friends, simply relaxing, and so much more.
The Gardens will offer great employment opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina. As The Gardens grow, so will the opportunities. Horticultural work has proven to be meaningful therapy, and hard work is good for the mind, body, and soul. We welcome the opportunity to work with everyone from high school students to retirees.
The Lord’s guidance is a witness to my Christian belief and a testimony to the spiritual guidance that I believe I have received since a young man. The journey of cultivating display gardens in Southeastern North Carolina began over twenty years ago and has challenged, and thereby strengthened, my faith. It would be an honor to share my lifetime of spiritual experiences; however, this is not my purpose for creating The Gardens. No one is required to believe what I believe in order to work here, visit, or support this new venture. My hope is for you and your family to always feel comfortable visiting this property and that the experience of its natural beauty will help guide you on your own journey. My belief is that you will be inspired when you visit The Gardens. You are invited and we will be honored with your attendance and support.
Thanks and God bless,
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