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Annual festival celebrates gardens

Posted: April 15, 2012 - 12:11am
Sharyn Altman's flower garden reseeded itself from last year's blooms. The flowers attract a variety of colorful butterflies.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Sharyn Altman's flower garden reseeded itself from last year's blooms. The flowers attract a variety of colorful butterflies.

An annual rite of spring is the Sacred Heart Garden Festival, when hundreds of guests flock to the Sacred Heart Cultural Center in downtown Augusta to celebrate the growing season while helping to raise much-needed funds for the center.

This year’s festival will start April 27, with a preview garden tea on April 22 at 5 p.m. A garden preview party will be held on April 26 at 7 p.m.

The garden tea will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. Daniel Blanton in Appling. Tickets for the event are $100.

“Enjoy a traditional Victorian tea in a lush private country garden amidst architectural and garden focal-points,” reads the festival’s Web site. “Multiple fountains, beautiful Japanese maples, a unique millstone herb garden and an organic vegetable garden perfectly interrelate to remind one of the classic Southern gardening.

“Based on author Babette Donaldson’s Emma Lea’s First Tea Ceremony, patrons will enjoy the experience of a Japanese style tea service with Japanese musicians, origami, tying of the Kimono and Ikebana flower arranging along with their own Victorian Tea,” continues the description. “This is a one-of-a-kind experience in a setting of visual delights.”

Tickets to the tea party are not available online, but reservations can be made by calling Sacred Heart at (706) 826-4700.

In addition to the tea, a garden festival preview party will be held prior to the festival kickoff. That party will be held on April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center. Guests will be able to have the first view of the gardens and exhibits created by local garden professionals. Tickets are $65.

The highlight of the event is the garden festival itself. Open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on April 27-28 and from noon until 5 p.m. on April 29, the festival offers numerous landscape and floral exhibits. Hard-to-find garden and home accessories can be found at the Garden Market, and speaker presentations provide gardening and decorating information.

Tickets cost $10 for a one-day pass or $25 for a three-day pass. The one-day pass does not include a tour of local gardens. Tickets for the festival, as well as the preview party, can be purchased at www.sacredheartgardenfestival.com.

The Augusta Council of Garden Clubs will hold a standard flower show during the festival. Attendance at the flower show is included with the purchase of a one- or three-day pass. Speakers for this year’s festival include Jeff Tilden, Bill Bambrick, Sharyn Altman, Charlie Shaw, Everette Jones, Sid Mullis, Catherine Prysiazny, Mary Louise Hagler and Jane Waldrop.

Complete speaker biographies and times can be found at www.sacredheartgardenfestival.com under the “Speaker Series” tab.

Featured gardens on this year’s tour include several on Henry Street in Augusta, as well as one each on Meigs Street, Milledge Road and Kings Way in Augusta.

Proceeds from the garden festival help fund the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

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