Burlington Arboretum @ Willowbrook Park

This is the master page for all things arboretum! With a project of this magnitude, there will be several sub-projects. All sub-projects will be listed at the bottom but the most current happenings will be listed at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest and support!

Please visit the City of Burlington‘s Arboretum Project Update Page and New Leaf’s Streambank Restoration Page for the latest progress!

All Photo credits: New Leaf Society and The City Of Burlington

Project Update – Fall 2022

The new Children’s Garden at The Burlington Arboretum at Willowbrook Park. It’s really a dream come true to see this area. It’s rare to drive by the Arboretum without seeing beautiful families and children taking advantage of this space.


Project Update – Summer 2022

Enjoy these photos of The Burlington Arboretum taken Summer of 2022 to showcase some updates and beautiful blooms around the park.

This newly restored spring is located on the W. Willowbrook side of the creek. The William Thomas Ingle spring. Ingle was Burlington’s first licensed undertaker. After his partner, James Madison Jobe, died in 1897, Ingle went into the dairy business in what’s now Willowbrook Park.
After Ingle’s death, his property was sold to W. W. Brown’s Central Loan & Trust Co. and Alamance Insurance & Real Estate Co.. Both companies deeded the park area to the city because it couldn’t be developed.
Be sure to visit the arboretum soon to enjoy a nice walk through the park and take a few minutes to see the spring for yourself!



New Plantings and Mulching at The Commons Building – Jan 2022

New plantings and mulching were installed around the Commons Building at The Burlington Arboretum. Thanks to The City Of Burlington.


Burlington Arboretum Treehouse Project – Nov/Dec 2021

A treehouse was constructed at the Burlington Arboretum, utilizing 100-year old locust trunks as the entrance to a suspension bridge that leads up to the platform. A railing and rope-like netting frames the sides.
The City of Burlington was awarded an NC PARTF grant (Parks and Recreation Trust Fund) and some of the dollars from that are funding this beautiful treehouse.


Veteran’s Overlook Plaza Dedication – November 10th, 2021

On November 10th, we held a dedication ceremony at the Burlington Arboretum for Veterans groups and donors. New Leaf Society is accepting donations for bricks at the Overlook honoring veterans both living and passed. They’ve placed the first several bricks already.
If you are interested in honoring a veteran with a brick at the Veterans Overlook, you can do so at this link: https://tinyurl.com/ytt6byhw


Summer 2021

The Veteran’s Overlook Plaza is completed! This Spring and Summer, The final touches were made including the new parking area along Church St., Stone Work by Eagle Hardscapes, and the unveiling of the centerpiece statue of an Eagle overlooking the Arboretum. Plaques honoring branches of the Military and inscriptions reading “For God And Country” and “To All Who Serve That We May Live” are also featured at the site. Two flag poles also stand at the site where the United States flag and State flag are flying.

Interested in purchasing a sandblasted brick to support this project>> Click here to learn more



December 2020 

New turf was laid in front of the Commons building. The stonework around the Veteran’s Plaza is nearly finished. Three Persian Ironwood trees were planted to frame the new parking spaces along West Willowbrook. The wetland gardens got some more love with the addition of several hydrangeas. The compass was placed and hardscaping began on the path at the foot of Sunset Drive. New stone steps are in progress leading to the gazebo.

October/November 2020 

A new sign was placed along Church St.

The Camelia/Hydrangea Garden donated by New Leaf Society were planted. With 150 Camellias and over 350 hydrangeas, the bursts of color will be beautiful. Designed by MH Roberts, PA, the camellias will start out white along Front St. then flow into pink and finally end up with red camellias at W. Davis St. The hydrangea are also planted to flow from one color to the next. The types of camellias and hydrangeas were chosen because are all great options for our area. They’ll offer great inspiration for your home landscaping.

September 2020 


Fall is here! The Commons building is nearly complete. We couldn’t be more pleased with how everything is taking shape. The sign along Church St. is under construction. Work continues on the Veterans Plaza. Once it’s complete and the statue is placed, we will be repaving the parking lot near Church St. Donated benches were also installed all along the paved walkways.

August 2020 

Burlington, NC Willowbrook Park Veteran's Plaza

We are excited to announce that construction is underway for the Veteran’s Plaza, which is a sub-project of The Burlington Arboretum at Willowbrook Park.  Eagle Hardscapes is constructing this plaza which honors all branches of military service as well as all others who serve by putting their lives on the line for this country and mankind. 

July 2020 

10 large overstory trees were planted along the creek to further provide increase shading of the water.  Added shade reduces algae mattes and protects both vertebrate and invertebrate animal life. The planting consisted of hackberry, bur oak, swamp white oak, overcup oak, Northern red oak, and white oak.  The diversity of tree species is important to protect from both insect and disease outbreaks in the future.  The Northern red oak and white oak were planted away from the creek because of their low tolerance to flooding.  With this planting, we have added  82 new trees to Willowbrook Park.  Prior to construction the number of trees removed due to disease, storm damage, and poor health was 22.

The new trees were sourced from various large tree nurseries located in North Carolina.  We purchased trees from Worthington Farms (Greenville, NC), Panther Creek (Fuquay Varina, NC), and the latest ones from Bryan Waggoner’s Nursery (Gibsonville, NC).  Trees were installed by IScapes (Ben Roney) and Complete Lawn (Ron Wrightentberry).  Trees are monitored daily due to the heat and watered as needed by Jason Barnhill the Arboretum’s horticulturalists.

June 2020 
Central Builders of Graham won the bid for the amenity building for the City of Burlington and New Leaf Society contracted with them for the surrounding terraces.. The building is being painted and the siding and stone work is complete, electrical and plumbing are in process. The crew began last week building the terraces around the building. Completion is expected in September.  Eagle Hardscapes of Greensboro was contracted by New Leaf Society to construct the Veterans Plaza which will be the main entrance to the arboretum.
All bridges are now installed and an existing bridge upfitted. The City has installed new railings on the headwalls at each crossing.
Benches and trash and recycling receptacles have been ordered by NLS from a company in Hendersonville, NC . One of our donors made this connection for us. The concrete pads were bid by New Leaf and Troy Breashears of Breashears Concrete had the low bid. He is starting excavation this week and will pour the pads next week.

March 7, 2018 – The initial step with City of Burlington’s streambank restoration was approved by City Council on March 6 and they now have 120 days to being construction. To follow the restoration’s latest progress, please visit the Stream Restoration Project Page and City of Burlington‘s project page.

March 5, 2018 –  Along with the excitement of this project, there has been one question that keeps popping up – What is an arboretum?”

According to Merriam-Webster, an arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes.

We would like to encourage interested individuals to visit the following local Arboretums and Public Gardens:

Bicentennial Garden in Greensboro

Gateway Gardens in Greensboro

Greensboro Arboretum

JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh

NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill

Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham

The above links are also available from the project page: Burlington Arboretum @ Willowbrook Park



Update: January 23, 2017

On January 17, 2017, the Burlington City Council approved the arboretum design. See Times-News Article Here

After receiving feedback from neighborhood meetings and public hearings, some changes were made to the previous design plans (see photos below)

Such changes include:

  • Removing the parking lot and replacing with street parking
  • Widening a portion of East Willowbrook Drive into the park’s right of way o add 8 parallel parking spots
  • Relocating the playground area on Church St to Front St
  • Building design to be more Craftsman than Modern in order to blend in with the neighborhood
  • Veteran’s Memorial Plaza & Overlook at the park’s edge & backs up to the American Legion Building

Currently, the city is working with Ecosystem, Planning & Restoration to improve the stream and flooding throughout the park.


Original Project Overview – 2015:

This project is a partnership with the City of Burlington to create a botanical garden and arboretum at Willowbrook Park in Burlington. Willowbrook Park is approximately 17 acres that follows a small creek from South Church Street to Front Street. A parking lot would be placed at South Church Street and Fountain Place with the current playground equipment moved up some and upgraded. Then a pathway of some sort would snake its away along the creek surrounded by gardens, plant collections and gazebos.

Photos Courtesy of Josh Drye




Sub Projects

Willowbrook Park Stream Restoration

New Leaf Society