In Knoxville, the dawning of spring is starting to mean one thing — garden parties! And what better place to kick off the garden party season than at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, which on Thursday hosted its “Hats in Bloom” party? I am not a hat person. I look terrible in hats. But I love to look at them and I love to watch others who are wearing them. And I love a lunch in a beautiful garden.
For years, I have heard my fashionable friends rave about “Pat, the hat lady.” She makes the most fantastic hats, they all said. Well, now I know what they are talking about. Patricia Frankum is truly a hat magician. Her creations are fanciful and beautiful. They make me wish I were a hat person. Patricia brought dozens of hats to the “Hats in Bloom” luncheon and she sold so many that we caught her on her cell phone urgently calling her husband. “Bring more hats!” she shouted.
Keyes Williamson, the executive director of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, addressed the 50 women as they sipped mimosas prior to lunch. “Hats are like gardens,” he said. “They harken back to a time of refinement in our homes and in our behavior.” Amen to that, brother! If anything can improve our behavior, I say bring it on.
Jackie Wilson is chair of the “In Bloom” series of events that will raise funds for the Botanical Garden. “Hats in Bloom” was the first in the series.
“Lunch in Bloom” will be May 10 in the garden of Dr. Alan Solomon. His is said to be one of the most expansive sculpture gardens in the Eastern United States. It features native plants, water features and a stunning conifer collection. The garden tour will be followed by a traditional workman’s lunch of beans and franks which Dr. Solomon has been sharing with his workers for over 38 years. Lunch will be served on the terrace with mountain and garden views and costs $30 per person.
“Vino in Bloom” will be May 16 at the home of Milton and Mimi Turner along the banks of the Little River. It is an evening event and will feature a walk through the woodland wildflower garden leading to the Turners’ Little River Artist Retreat. Highlight of that event: sunset! Cost is $50 per ticket.
Finally, “Champagne in Bloom” will be May 23 at Jackie’s own home. Designed to evoke the architecture of Southern France, this home and garden is hidden within a forested hillside on one of Rockford’s picturesque old farms. The garden is a work in progress and features hybrid tea roses, an expansive vegetable garden and (my favorite flower!) a peony garden. Guests will sip champagne while touring the garden followed by a French inspired supper under the trees. Tickets are only $40 per person. Click here to go to the Botanical Garden website for more info.
I just love the garden party season in Knoxville.