Dodging raindrops, I was able to take in the Guardians of the Garden art exhibit Saturday. Tucked away in nooks and perched on top of columns, the sculptures dot the landscape in Airlie Gardens. Some are pure fantasy – dragons and gargoyles full of gnarly teeth and giant insects, while others are whimsical animals, such as a fox, owl, and hummingbirds. Each is beautiful and unique, although my favorite was the wise owl, with his wings spread as if preparing to fly.
There were many flowers in bloom. Sunflowers greeted me at the entrance to the garden, and stayed with me as the path wound towards the large oaks by the creek. The breeze blew gently and the Spanish moss swayed to the dance in the salty air. I was lucky enough to see a pair of Osprey feeding their young in a tall tree near the pond. Swans were sleeping on the bank of the pond and several Great Egrets were nestled in the trees. Surprisingly, the turtles and wood ducks were absent on this visit, which I found odd. But seeing the Osprey carrying fish to their nest was worth not seeing the usual residents.
On this day, wedding guests were seated under a large white tent near the pergola that leads to the water fountain by the pond. The wedding party was over near the camellia garden for photos before the ceremony began. All the while, the wedding guests were patiently waiting for the ceremony to begin. The wind blew harder and thunder rumbled closer. I meandered by the bottle house towards the visitor center on my way out of the garden. The lush grounds and tropical plants whispered their goodbye. I hoped the rain held out for the ceremony (even if rain is considered good luck on your wedding day) so the wedding party didn’t get drenched on what was already a very muggy day. All in all, it was another fantastic visit to one of my favorite Wilmington places!