The huge walking ivy plant threatens guest Mary Bogert, the general manager of the Knoxville Convention Center. The ivy was a stilt walker provided by One World Circus. Very clever!
The 10-foot-tall walking ivy plant was a little disconcerting. But everything else at the 2013 Green Thumb Gala at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum earlier this month was perfectly charming.
Sara and Ben Pinnell, co-chairs of this year’s Gala, said they have been enchanted by the historic East Knoxville garden for many years. They have visited it to play kickball, climb trees, attend events and quietly explore the 47-acre site of the former Howell Nurseries. That’s why they chose it as the site for their wedding rehearsal dinner in June of 2010.
The diversity of the garden is what makes it so interesting and appealing to a wide range of visitors. Folks come to learn more about horticulture and gardening, Civil War history, ecology and wildlife, among other things. They come for recreation, education, photography and picnics large and small. Next up for the privately held non-profit: a new visitor center.That’s what part of the proceeds from this year’s Green Thumb Gala will fund.
The garden is located on Wimpole Street, barely five minutes from downtown. Drop by when you can. But, until then, take a look at this wonderful garden party.
Governor Bill Haslam poses with Gay Lyons, left, and Margaret Gehring, a member of the family that originally owned Howell Nurseries, which today is the location of the Knoxville Botanical Garden.
Sara Hedstrom Pinnell and her husband, Ben, were co-chairs of the Green Thumb Gala. I love that the straws at the event looked like birch tree trunks!
Tom and Deanene Catani were co-chairs of the Green Thumb Gala last year. They love the Garden so much that they got married there. Tom’s company, U.S. Cellular, sponsored the opening reception this year.
Allyn Purvis Schwartz and Matthew McClellan during the reception.
Nancy Young with Bill Arant, left, and Bill Cobble
Dr. Steve and Mary Ellen Brewington with Jim Pugh, right
Beef roll-ups were passed during cocktails. Tasty.
Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
Garlic cheese grits triangles were unusual, but good!
Deconstructed candied apples on sticks were interesting.
Mary liked them!
I loved the artistic shadows of leaves on the ceiling of the huge tent.
Among the creative silent auction items was this clay flower pot signed by Coach Butch Jones.
This antiqued metal deer was donated by Michael Peters Home.
Sara Berry was raising the bid on the whimsical tree person created by Wade Richardson.
I loved this leaf-cast stone birdbath. (But we don’t really need a birdbath in our downtown condo!)
Paul James, left, with Caesar Stair
From left, Rosemary Gilliam, John Butler and Theresa Stone
HGTV stars Peyton and Chris Lambton were on hand. Their current show is called “Going Yard.”
Donna and Craig Griffith, left, with Cathy and Dan Brown
Karen Kalec and Jay McBride
Dr. Jan Henley and John Diasmore
Tom and Anna Ford with Sara Hedstrom Pinnell, right
Ha! Erin Donovan, left, and Tamara Warner have very similar tastes!
Greg and Jennifer Dunn with Jennifer’s father, Tom Scanlan
City Councilman Duane Grieve, left, with Marlene and Jack O’Hanlon
David Butler, left, with state Rep. Joe Armstrong
Pamela and Dan Chips
Victor Ashe, left, with Joan and Neal Allen
Sarah Stowers, left, and Susan Greer
Sandy and Hank Bertelkamp
Mary Bogert, right, chats with Kim and Scott Bumpas
Dinner time! Salad was mixed greens with pears, gorgonzola and maple balsamic vinaigrette.
I loved the shape of the crouton!
But my favorite part of the presentation was the charger!
The centerpieces looked ready to plant!
At the Moxley Carmichael table: Jennifer Lawson, left, a MoxCar account executive, and Maria Cornelius, our new writer/editor.
Erin Donovan and John Martin were with us, as well.
Lauren Christ, director of client services for Moxley Carmichael, and Mary Bogert helped fill the MoxCar table.
Our account executive Natalie Lester and her boyfriend, Chase Bailey, joined us.
Some table-hopping turned up Terry and Tank Strickland.
And state Rep. Joe Armstrong with City Councilman Duane Grieve.
Joan Ashe visited with Stuart Worden.
Jamie and Lee Butler
Sandra and John Butler, sitting, with Ginny Jones
Andrea Cartwright and Dr. Alan Solomon
Let’s take a look at that entree! Cranberry stuffed chicken breast with orange champagne sauce, mixed wild rice, roasted butternut squash with pine nuts and sweet potato biscuits with honey butter. Yum.
Alan’s favorite part of any meal – dessert. This is pumpkin cheesecake with bourbon infused whipped cream.
Speaking of Alan, here he is with Vicki Baumgartner of the Botanical Garden.
Dino Cartwright did a great job with the nine-item live auction. (Alan and I bought an awesome shrimp boil for 25 courtesy of Allyn Schwartz!)
Here’s Lauren with Keyes Williamson, the executive director of the Knoxville Botanical Garden. Lauren is showing the receipt for the item she won in the silent auction: materials to plant a square-foot garden! Cool, huh?
It looks like Julia and Gary Bentley liked those rustic chargers as much as we did!
Here’s Ben Pinnell of Hickory Construction at the end of the evening celebrating a job well done. He and his wife, Sara, were the co-chairs of the event.
Three good friends: from left, Natalie Lester, Lauren Christ and Erin Donovan.