Big fun and big changes at Knoxville Botanical Garden

Sharon Moore, the new executive director of Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

I don’t know what it is about a garden, but parties in them always seem to be fun! It’s almost like you can’t NOT have a good time when you are gathered for food, drink, and camaraderie in a beautiful outdoor space. It just lets you breathe out a little.

The folks at Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum know how to take advantage of this fact with their signature annual fundraiser, the Green Thumb Gala. Celebrated last month at the 47-acre site of the former Howell Nurseries located just two miles to the east of downtown Knoxville, the party was a delight, as usual.

The event also was significant in that it was a chance to welcome the Botanical Garden’s new executive director, Sharon Moore, who assumed the position in September, replacing Jim Richards, who retired after holding the post and doing an excellent job for eight years.

Moore came to the Botanical Garden from the East Tennessee Foundation, where she was director of advancement for almost two years. More significantly, though, prior to that she was director of development at Zoo Knoxville for more than 11 years. The zoo is noted for its  phenomenal success in fundraising, a fact that surely bodes well for the Botanical Garden.

From left, Tina Rolen, Al Bettinger, Bill Pitttman, and Mary Hugh Bettinger during the cocktail hour and silent auction that started the evening.

Tom and Deanene Catani.

From left, Terry and Rachel Ford with David Butler.

From left, Merrill Ammons, Joan Ashe, and Maureen Dunn McBride.

From left, Sarah Egner and her mom, Julia Bentley, with Rick and Jenny Blackburn.

From left, Gloria Deathridge, Brenda Anderson, Jan and Don Hickman.

Stephanie Russ-Barber and Keith Barber.

From left, Sam Brown, Christy and Tyler Caviness, Sean Martin, and City Council Member Lauren Rider.

Cliff and Margaret Rodgers with Katie Kline, at right.

Wow. What a dress on Moody Altamimi!

Well, it was October and I guess Scott Schimmel was in the Octoberfest spirit! Pictured here with his fun wife, Lisa Sorensen, his Lederhosen outfit brought a smile to my face!

David Pickens and Rachel Schott performed during cocktails.

Mingling, sipping and bidding!

I was tempted by the Vera Bradley items on the silent auction.

And the kitchen accoutrements.

The passed spinach puffs were delish.

From left, Alice Allen, LaKenya Middlebrook, and Sam Brown.

From left, Nikki and Eric Elliott, Tyler Janow, and Anthony Wilson.

From left, Johnnie Creel, Gail Jarvis, Ralph Cianelli, and Kathy Wallace.

From left, Lisa New, Rick Fox, and Terri Ramsay. Fox is immediate past chair of the Botanical Garden board of directors.

Duane and Marsha Grieve with former Knoxville Mayor and Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe, at right.

Kristin Grove, left, and Micah Herren.

Linnie and Charley Sexton.

From left, Ellen Bebb, Jenny Blackburn, and Finbarr Saunders.

Jacque and Cliff Hawks.

From left, Carol and Tim Coode with Christi Branscom.

From left, Tom and Anna Ford, David Butler, Gay Lyons, and Ted Smith.

Sharon Moore and Matt Keaney, current board chair of the Botanical Garden.

Scott Bishop and Karen Krieg.

Pandy Anderson, left, and Lane Hays.

Lynne and Walter Fain.

Kyle and Patsy McCoy.

Katie Kline and Sam Anderson.

Jenny and Dr. Larry Bushkell.

Doris Sharp and Alan Carmichael.

Craig and Donna Griffith.

Rick Fox, left, and Ralph Cianelli inside the dinner tent. Matt Keaney is at the podium.

Sandi Burdick and Tom Boyd. (The lighting was so bad inside the main tent, that I didn’t take many photos. Especially of the food, which looked terrible under the lights.)

From left, Patricia Robledo, Moody Altamimi, and Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.

Knoxville City Council Member Gwen McKenzie, standing, and Patricia Hammonds.

From left, Marcel Holman, Brandon Whittaker and Sheila Gordon putting out fine tunes during dinner.

Ralph Cianelli unveiling an engraved stone honoring the Botanical Garden’s recently retired executive director, Jim Richards.






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

3 Responses to Big fun and big changes at Knoxville Botanical Garden

  1. Gay Lyons, on November 16th, 2023 at 2:45 pm said:

    What a fun evening! Great to see so many supporting our fabulous botanical garden. Wow. You’re right about the lighting. I didn’t notice it at the time, but it was definitely not good for photos.

  2. Sharon Moore, on November 16th, 2023 at 10:29 pm said:

    A giant thank you to all the generous supporters and to Cynthia for capturing the evening.

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on November 19th, 2023 at 10:07 pm said:

    Sure was fun! Let’s fix that lighting next year!

Leave a Reply