I have to say, the entry of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum onto the Knoxville social scene definitely has expanded the diversity of cultural activities available. Case in point: a lecture by an expert on famous gardener Gertrude Jekyll was recently the excuse for (what else?) another garden party!
This one was at the beautiful Lyons View Pike home of Caesar and Dorothy Stair and also included tours of their fabulous gardens. A fundraiser for the Botanical Garden, the dinner was held on the eve of a speech by Judith B. Tankard, who is the author of eight books on American and European landscape history and is the foremost Jekyll expert.
Although the actual meal was moved inside because of rain, I have discovered that a little moisture will not prevent avid gardeners from perusing a lovely estate.
They simply raise their bumbershoots (Jekyll was English) and plow on. And this was indeed the case that Friday evening.
Tankard’s most recent book is “Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden” and celebrates the work of one of the most important garden designers of the twentieth century. A prolific writer and a hugely influential plantswoman, Jekyll’s circle of friends included some of the most distinguished architects, horticulturists, artists, and writers of the time. She is said to have laid the basis for modern garden design and is credited with popularizing an informal, naturalistic look as opposed to the rigid, formal landscapes of the Victorian era. Her 30-year collaboration with architect Edwin Lutyens produced seminal garden masterpieces of the Arts & Crafts movement.
I thought the food and the company at the Stairs’ event were every bit as stimulating as the horticulture we saw and discussed. So, if you are looking for some interesting new social activities, I heartily recommend checking out the Botanical Garden’s website for a list of some to consider.
Click here for a story in the News Sentinel that includes a short interview with Judith Tankard along with her advice for amateur gardeners.
Here is a link to a Saveur recipe for classic sole a la meuniere. Click here. I may just have to make it this weekend, thanks to Holly turning out such a delicious version of it.