This new event is a “must attend” that showcases one of Knoxville’s most beautiful hidden treasures

This whimsical sculpture welcomed everyone to the registration tent.

This whimsical sculpture welcomed everyone to the registration tent.

The Fall Festival at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum was an absolute delight Oct. 16. And this is coming from a person who doesn’t have a garden (or even a yard anymore), is not comfortable around large animals (which were there), and not all that crazy about kids! So imagine how much YOU would like it!

I’m not just saying this because they are a client, but the Knoxville Botanical Garden is really coming into its own these days. Located on 44 acres in East Knoxville, it is a treasure only five minutes from downtown. The Joe N. Howell Nursery and the C.B. Howell Nursery were founded there in 1786 and Joe Howell’s employees constructed a series of distictive stone walls and buildings on the property. The location is rich in history with evidence of Native American activity and Civil War activity on the site.

In 2001, a group of Knoxvillians formed a non-profit organization to purchase, preserve and develop the property. The board of directors envisions it becoming a vital and active green space in the heart of a long-neglected neighborhood. Long-term plans call for not only a series of unique gardens, but a bird sanctuary, areas for plant cultivation and meditation, water features, sculpture, and eventually an amphitheater for plays, concerts and festivals. The facility already is a scene for many weddings, receptions, meetings and parties.

The Fall Festival was intended to demonstrate just how special this place is. As the festival opened, so did the newest garden, the Knoxville Garden Club-sponsored Danae Garden, designed by the Garden Club, the garden’s staff, and downtown landscape architect Sara Hedstrom Pinnell of Hedstrom Design. Danae, also known as “poet’s laurel,” is an unusual plant that has been propagated at the garden site for more than 50 years.

We started our Fall Festival activites in the main tent where a series of unique vendors offered their wares in a beautiful, relaxed environment.

Marion Westerling, director of development at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, was attracted to the beautiful gourds for sale.

Marion Westerling, director of development at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, was attracted to the beautiful gourds for sale.

The vendor, named Gorgeous Gourds Galore, was well-stocked with a huge variety of artfully decorated gourds.

These are just a few.

These are just a few.

One lady you just couldn’t resist was Glenda Ross of Greenbriar Nursery. She is the biggest fan of blueberries I’ve ever met. She advocates planting edible plants — especially blueberries — instead of a lawn. Her website is www.eatyouryard.biz.

Glenda Ross, the blueberry lady

Glenda Ross, the blueberry lady

“Anything you can grow to eat, you don’t have to mow,” she said. “We don’t own a lawn mower.”

Ross said Knoxville is located in the “blessed blueberry belt” where both the northern varieties of blueberries and the southern varieties can be grown — 43 varieties in all. She believes we should all be planting them. “If you grow blueberries, you know that what you are putting your energy into will send that energy back in the form of food,” she pointed out. Blueberries hold their leaves all winter long, she said. Her philosophy: “edibles are beautifuls!”

Another wonderful vendor was The Appalachian Shed from Butler, Tennessee.

These beautiful fish are offered by The Appalachian Shed.

These beautiful wooden fish are offered by The Appalachian Shed.

green-fish3
red-fish1

I’m not normally a fan of insects — unless they are made of glass.

These bugs also were offered by The Appalachian Shed.

These bugs also were offered by The Appalachian Shed.

My favorite one

My favorite one

There were many activities for children: a pine cone toss, pumpkin and face painting, horse shoes. But the balloon animals were so popular that they ran out of them.

These lucky kids scored some balloon animals.

These lucky kids scored some balloon animals.

I loved, loved, loved the petting zoo. I don’t know what some of these animals are, but they were so gentle and beautiful.

Is this an alpaca? A llama?

Is this an alpaca? A llama?

This is a zebu cow. This breed is worshiped in India, we were told.

This is a zebu cow. This breed is worshiped in India, we were told.

Stuart Worden and Lane Hays enjoyed feeding this animal.

Stuart Worden and Lane Hays enjoyed feeding this animal.

I don't know what it is, but it is so pretty. Minky Worden is looking on.

I don't know what it is, but it is so pretty. Minky Worden is looking on.

This was my favorite. Such a sweet face. No idea what it is, though!

This was my favorite. Such a sweet face. No idea what it is, though!

The animals came from Circle G Ranch in Strawberry Plains. They have more than 500 animals on 105 acres and offer three-mile “safaris.” Really? In Strawberry Plains? You learn something new every day.

You might have seen this twig sculpture in the newspaper. It is called “Spipral” and was made by Kelly  Brown and the students at Laurel High School.

"Spipral"

"Spipral"

Then we met Steve Rhule. He owns BeeGreener, a landscape firm. Like everyone else in the home building business, he has been hit hard by the economic downturn. So he has taken up sculpture. “It’s what I do when I don’t have landscaping,” he said. “My son is my partner in the business and I’m trying to teach him that if you don’t have something to do, you make something.”

Steve Rhule

Steve Rhule

This is one of his sculptures.

This is one of his sculptures.

This is another.

This is another.

Then it was back inside to sample some ginger ice cream from Chadwick’s Churn, located in Knoxville on Middlebrook Pike across from Shannondale Nursing Home. The gourmet ice cream is actually produced from scratch in Friendsville.

Alan's ice cream. Thought the little animal cracker on top was a cute touch.

Alan's ice cream. Thought the little animal cracker on top was a cute touch.

Finally, we decided to do what we had come to the Fall Festival to do — visit the new Danae Garden.

Alan takes a rest in the Danae Garden.

Alan takes a rest in the Danae Garden.

Danae is also known as “poet’s laurel.” It was the plant the ancients used to make wreaths of to put on the heads of winning athletes and, I assume, poets. Anyway, Alan wanted to see what it felt like to have a laurel wreath around his head. But, of course, he didn’t want to damage any plant in the garden by cutting or breaking it off. So, here was his solution.

Alan tries on a Danae wreath -- sort of.

Alan tries on a Danae wreath -- sort of.

We were so busy doing all this, that we missed a great series of workshops on topics from making herbal gifts to the basics of pruning. So I guess we’ll have to do that at the next Fall Festival. See you then!

Hayrides looked like fun!

Hayrides looked like fun!

Filed under: Art, Events, Historic preservation, Knoxville. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to This new event is a “must attend” that showcases one of Knoxville’s most beautiful hidden treasures

  1. Tami Hartmann, on October 26th, 2010 at 4:32 pm said:

    So much to do, such fabulous weather! This was an incredible event for the first Fall Festival at the Botanical Gardens. I can’t wait to see what they add next year.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blue Streak » This new event is a “must attend” that showcases one of Knoxville’s most beautiful hidden treasures -- Topsy.com

  3. Wooden sculptures, on June 20th, 2011 at 4:21 pm said:

    Abstract wooden sculptures are a part of wood carving art which has been well-known from ancient eras.

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