Compton Gardens & Conference Center, a favorite local spot, is nestled just between the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Ernie Lawrence plaza. The 6.5 acres of gardens feature a wide variety of native Ozark plants, surrounding the mid-century home of Dr. Neil Compton.
Corrin Troutman, Executive Director at the Peel Compton Foundation, has worked at the nonprofit since 2004, when the gardens were just being developed. An avid hiker, nature, and history lover, here's her perspective on how to keep THRIVEing:
What is it that makes the Compton house unique to the area?
The Compton Gardens Conference Center was the home of Dr. Neil Compton and is located just off the downtown Bentonville Square. The architect was Cecil Stanfield from Tulsa, OK. Stanfield wanted the house to take the feel of a bridge that became part of the surrounding natural landscape.
What is the most interesting native plant at Compton Gardens?
We have over 300 native plant species at Compton Gardens, so asking that questions is like asking: "out of your 300 children which one is most interesting?"
All of the trees and plants have an interesting story behind them but some of my favorites are the rare and endangered native plants like the American Ginseng or the Lady Slipper Orchids. The Umbrella Magnolia tree also has one of the most interesting stories of how Dr. Compton planted it at his home. To hear these intriguing stories, stop by for a free seasonal guide on the plants or schedule a tour by calling (479)-254-3870.
What annual garden events can Bentonville visitors and residents enjoy?
The annual Native Tree & Plant sale is always a great hit. It happens early spring and we sell a lot of the same type of plants that are in the gardens.
Our "Gardens On Tap" event was inspired by all the local craft brewers that have been opening up around Northwest Arkansas. The concept is to create a "beer garden", and allow people to enjoy Compton Gardens in the late spring. The event's goal is to raise awareness of Compton Gardens, native plants, and the history around Dr. Neil Compton. Funds that we raise go to our general operating budget and help us produce education programs through out the year.
How do you THRIVE?
I love to be outdoors in nature. I hike, canoe, camp, and collect native plants.
In addition to events, Compton Gardens offers weekly garden tours and event space rentals for business meetings, weddings, parties, etc. The Peel Compton Foundation also manages the Peel Mansion, a historical home and event venue in Bentonville, Arkansas.