IRLIE GARDENS suffered the loss of an incredible 275 trees when Florence spun relentlessly overhead for days
in September 2018. It wasn’t just the oaks and pines that suffered, though. Those falling trees significantly dam-aged
the understory, including Airlie’s prized azaleas and camellias. Over the course of a six-week closure — the
longest in the gardens’ public history — staff and volunteers cleaned, cleared, restored and replanted affected areas,
readying for the reopening. As part of the restoration, new magnolia cultivars have been added, increasing the
diversity of the gardens’ flora while maintaining the character of the spaces. A fundraising effort provided resources
to replace some lost azaleas and plan for future additions. The Butterfly House, Bottle Chapel, Pergola and beloved
Airlie Oak were unharmed by the hurricane. The more than 200-year-old “Mystery Grave” was likewise unscathed
by Florence, though the area around it was severely damaged. The Airlie staff redid the grave area’s landscaping,
which now flows well with the adjacent Pergola and Bridal Walk.
This page and previous: Airlie Gardens April 2019. Workers logged countless hours restoring and improving Airlie
Gardens in the wake of Hurricane Florence’s damage.