Sunday Thoughts ~ Wing Haven

“All ye who humbly enter here are welcome and to Wing Haven dear, Behold earth’s beauty, the heavens above, Yet if some presence other than doves Should startle you, Fear not. . .for tis God!” ~ Paul Carpenter, Jr.

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  Today, I want to share a beautiful garden I know only through the words of the gifted writer and magnificent gardener, Tovah Martin.  Ms. Martin describes this peaceful paradise in a way only she can.  However, even though my words will pale in comparison, I will attempt to convey the beauty of the almost fairy-tale world she described.  The lovely quote above, written for Wing Haven, is on a plaque embedded in the brick at one of the garden’s entry gates.

I would love to visit and savor the beauty of Wing Haven ~ perhaps, you will too.


“A beautiful garden is the work of the heart” ~ unknown.

Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary, tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood three miles from the center of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been a special part of the community since its beginning in 1927.  The exquisite garden, once a field of red clay, was the vision of Elizabeth and Edwin O. “Eddie” Clarkson.  As they could afford, between years of 1927 and 1937, Eddie Clarkson purchased a total of eleven parcels and the gardens grew to nearly three acres.  While they were knee-deep in the process of creating their beautiful garden, the name for their piece of paradise came to them one evening as they were simply sitting on a bench enjoying what they had accomplished to that point.  And, that is exactly how it happens.  If one listens carefully, homes and gardens whisper their names to us.


“All gardening is landscape painting.” ~ William Kent

The Clarksons had a vision of their garden as a peaceful place of beauty and a ‘haven’ for their winged friends.  Throughout all the seasons, the garden offers interest for humans as well as nesting sites and food for the many varieties of birds and other creatures who call Wing Haven home, or simply stop by for a visit.  There are also pools, fountains, and numerous birdbaths, offering a constant source of fresh water. 

The gardens include formal areas,  an herb garden, woodlands, and brick paths, and are enclosed on all sides by brick walls.  The building of the walls and paths were costly and took time.  So, for many years, on anniversaries, birthdays, or any special occasion, the Clarksons gifted each other a thousand bricks at a time.  Upon completion, the process had required a total of 350,000 bricks.  Additionally, during a period of 44 years, there were numerous plaques and statuary carefully chosen by Elizabeth Clarkson.  All echoing the spirit, beauty, dedication, and passion of Wing Haven and its creators.


  “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
In 1940, Elizabeth Clarkson helped bring to life the Mecklenburg Audubon Society, an organization which continues to remain involved with Wing Haven.
For years, Elizabeth Clarkson kept meticulous journals,  noting every species of bird she returned to health or saw in her garden.  In 1944, she compiled these observations in her book, “Birds of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina,” a comprehensive guide to local and migratory birds. Through the years, over 150 bird species have been spotted at Wing Haven, including those noted by Elizabeth Clarkson in her journals.


“Every spring I hear the thrush singing in the glowing woods he is only passing through.  His voice is deep, then he lifts it until it seems to fall from the sky.  I am thrilled.  I am grateful.” ~ Mary Oliver

In 1970, in order to ensure the future preservation and maintenance of their gardens, the Clarksons established Wing Haven Foundation.  And, in 1971, they gifted their gardens to the Foundation.  Since that time, the Board of Directors has been responsible for maintaining the property in a manner true to the Clarksons’ wishes.

The Wing Haven Foundation is a non-profit organization that owns and operates Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary, truly a hidden gem in the center of Charlotte.

Clarkson_Garden_1.jpg    A plaque embedded in one of the walkways at Wing Haven.


Clare Ansberry tells us that “gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.”  Perhaps, the Clarksons knew this as they worked for years, establishing such a magnificent legacy of beauty which others would enjoy for years to come.



   Wishing you and yours a lovely and peaceful day. 

And …

May you discover many sweet moments in the week ahead.

Thanks for visiting!






Notes:  Should you have difficulty reading the quote by John Ruskin,  It reads as follows:

“I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly,  nor destroy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life and guard all natural beauty upon the earth.”

Images:  Wing Haven Foundation







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12 Comments on "Sunday Thoughts ~ Wing Haven"

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Pam Richardson

Sandra, I love the opening quote from Paul Carpenter, Jr. Wouldn’t a visit to Wing Haven be fabulous? The Clarksons spent a lifetime making this beautiful garden space for future generations to enjoy and yes, write about. Your post is filled with gorgeous images and lovely quotes and writing from your heart. I always look forward to your Sunday post. Enjoy your day sweet friend❤️

Rita C at Panoply

This is close enough that a visit is quite doable. What a beautiful retreat. I love that the Clarksons had the vision to grow their space and then gift it to the Foundation they created. Hmmm. That’s definitely one way to ensure a garden stays intact, right? Thank you for sharing this garden, Sandra.

Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things
Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things

That is only 2 hours from me! I never knew it was there. One of my sons live in Charlotte. I am going to have to visit there one day. Thank you for the lovely Sunday inspiration!


What a wonderful garden!Those roses are stunning!Best wishes,dear Sandra!

Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life

This is such a beautiful spot on God’s green earth. It would be such a wondrous place to visit. I absolutely love the John Ruskin quotation and shall add it to my commonplace notebook. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. A bright spot in our day.

Wishing you a beautiful rest of the week, Sandra.
Brenda xox


I can see why you’d love to visit here — it’s so very beautiful. How I’d love to hear birdsong from 150 different kinds of birds!