‘Place of peace’: Piedmont Land Conservancy honors woman’s memory by preserving wildflower garden

Roy's Folks

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Spring in her garden was always Emily Allen’s favorite time of year. 

“Once it starts, it’s a different scene every day,” Emily said during an interview in her friendship garden several years ago. “So many of these [plants] are short lived. You’ve got to be there or you’ll miss it.”

It’s estimated that Emily spent more than 50 years taking care of her garden.

“She called it her friendship garden,” said Charlie Brummitt, the former director of the Piedmont Land Conservancy. “A lot of the plants that were here were from people she knew.”

It was Emily’s dream to preserve the garden for generations. When she passed away in 2015, she left the property to the land conservancy. 

“Emily harvested plants from the mountain of North Carolina,”said Kevin Redding, director of the Piedmont Land Conservancy. “She would go to sights that were set to be developed, and she would rescue those plants and bring them here.”

The conservancy’s goal is to carry out Emily’s passion. 

“These plants are her passion, and she would love to see them carried on to the future, and that’s what we are trying to do,” Redding said. 

These days what is now known as the Emily Allen Wildflower Preserve is taken care of by a group of dedicated volunteers. 

“Its a just place of peace and joy when you are in here,” Brummitt said. 

During the month of April, the conservancy opens the property up to scheduled tours. Due to COVID limits, the tours for this year are already full.

You can learn more about the preserve at piedmontland.org.

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