I believe the unofficial start to garden party season in Knoxville is the annual Hats in Bloom luncheon at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. The schedule is a little bit on the brave side – in early April. The buds are just starting to think about opening. And the ladies gamely don their spring outfits — but they bring a sweater, just in case.
Popular milliner Patricia Frankum and her helpful husband, Jeff, haul in scores of hats to sell and, I have to say, it’s practically a feeding frenzy as women crowd the tables and cluster around the mirrors. Even though I’m not a hat person, I love watching the others find just the right chapeau.
The Knoxville Botanical Garden is a historical gem located in East Knoxville just minutes from downtown. It has been a great addition to the Knoxville social scene as it is the perfect venue for weddings, parties and receptions.
If you missed this year’s Hats in Bloom event, never fear. It was just the start of a series of four such fundraisers to be held in private gardens for the benefit of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum.
The next one will be called “Country Garden in Bloom,” and will be the evening of May 29 at the home of Diane Humphreys-Barlow and Jack Barlow on a 16-acre rural south Knox County property. Portions of the gardens were designed by different landscape architects and creative horticulturists and the landscape has been embellished by personal plant choices of the owners. Raised garden beds supply produce throughout the summer and fall. Wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Cost is $45 per person.
By contrast, “City Garden in Bloom” will be the evening of June 12 at the home of Ileen and University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek. This event involves wine and a light supper after a tour of the half-acre garden surrounding their home. Ileen has planned the garden so there is something in bloom throughout the year. For the party, there may be hydrangeas, peonies (my favorite flower) and day lilies, as well as Jimmy’s small vegetable garden on display. Cost is $50 per person.
Another “In Bloom” event, as yet undetermined, is being planned for June 26. To reserve seats at any of these, call (865) 862-8717.
Now, back to those hats!
She went for number two!
The Hats in Bloom party looked to be at least twice the size it was last year. I can only imagine what 2015 will bring. You gotta be there.