Burlington Arboretum @ Willowbrook Park

This is the master page for all things arboretum! With a project 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!

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