Compton Gardens and Arboretum
Photos: Eric Fuselier, including image of Oz Art installation “Heartland” by Daniel Popper
Size: 7 acres
Year established: 2001
Year inducted: 2022
Category: Professionally managed
Entrance Fee: Free
Description: Compton Gardens and Arboretum beautifully displays Ozark horticulture, exhibiting a diverse selection of trees, shrubs, grasses, and perennials, including both sunny and shady sites. A combination of both wild and formal spaces create a sanctuary within a very urban area in the middle of downtown Bentonville. The site provides an excellent example of a thematic garden, with designated garden spaces, named “Meadow,” “Butterfly Garden,” “Woodland,” “Bird Sanctuary,” “Cindy Springs,” and “Living Wall,” as well as unique Oz Art installations integrated into the garden spaces. Additionally, the grounds include five Arkansas Champion Trees.
Four full-time staff maintain the gardens including controlling invasives and aggressive natives and winterizing for wildlife. Compton has an active native seed collection program for its own use and also gives seed to local residents.
Adjoining Compton Gardens and Arboretum is Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and grounds, which also feature native landscaping.
What Makes this Garden Excellent:
Compton Gardens and Arboretum is named after Dr. Neil Compton, who helped to establish the Buffalo River as the first National River and was inspired by the native plants found along the Buffalo to utilize natives in his own garden. His original family home, located in front of the gardens, is now a rental space for events and celebrations.
Examples of Wildlife Spotted Here:
Frogs & toads
Vast variety of pollinators & butterflies
Ten Great Native Plants to See Here:
Amsonia illustris (Shining blue star)
Baptisia sphaerocarpa (Yellow wild indigo)
Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)
Callirhoe bushii (Bush’s poppy mallow)
Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)
Hamamelis vernalis (Vernal witch hazel)
Rhamnus caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn)
Rhododendron prinophyllum (Roseshell azalea)
Staphylea trifolia (Bladdernut)
Zizia aurea (Golden alexanders)
Signage: Interpretive signage can be found throughout the gardens, including six signs that teach visitors about the Bird Sanctuary, Butterfly Sanctuary, Woodland Trail, Meadow, Living Wall and Cindy Springs. In addition, two signs speak to the history of the property, formerly owned by Dr. Neil Compton.
Accessibility: Approximately 1/2 mile of paved trails make the gardens accessible by foot, bike, or assistive device.
312 North Main Street, Bentonville, AR 72712