Register now for “Enchanted Garden,” the annual Bellevue Botanical Garden Society’s dinner and auction, to be held on Friday, September 24 at 5:30 pm. Popular auctioneer John Curley will be tempting you to raise your paddle again and again for the fabulous gardening art, accessories, plants and getaways. He’ll have his trusted sidekick, Evening Magazine’s Jim Dever, assisting him.
This year the auction moves to the Harbor Club Bellevue, which offers an elegant, relaxing atmosphere. The dinner menu has been designed by famed chef David Thierry, and includes a sumptuous four-course harvest menu designed specifically with the garden-loving guests in mind. You will be greeted with a glass of champagne from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and during the meal, the wine pairings for each course have been chosen by Bareoot’s Zach Hilfman.
Last year the “Harvest Hoedown” theme encouraged guests to get into the spirit wearing their best country duds. This year’s “Enchanted Garden” theme will mean bringing out your flowery summer dresses, or maybe adding a few butterflies to a garden hat.
This is a garden lover’s auction and you won’t find these events and experiences in any store. There will be one-of-a-kind garden sculptures; vacation stays in Orcas Island, Sun Valley, Maui; wine tastings; garden tours, theme gourmet dinners; many art pieces, birdhouses and planted containers, and, of course, a great selection of unusual plants donated from nurseries and specialty growers. Start planning your auction strategy in advance by checking out their catalog, which you can find online at http://www.bellevuebotanical.org/ after September 15.
The tickets are $110 per person and Patrons are $150 per person. Or organize a table with a group of friends and the evening is even more festive – a table for 8 is $880, a table for 10 is $1,100 and a Patron table for 8 is $1,200. (Contributions are tax deductible.) The event is usually a sellout, so don’t wait to buy your tickets.
The annual September fete is a fun way to support the Bellevue Botanical Garden, an important botanical collection that includes the Yao Japanese garden, a rhododendron glen, a rock garden, a waterwise garden, fuchsia and dahlia gardens and the NPA perennial border. It is the only fundraising event to support all the Society’s programs for the public, including the Mothers Day celebration, Music in the Garden, and the invaluable ‘Living Lab’ program for children.
Living Lab provides quality science and botany-related educational opportunities for youth. It includes different modules for different elementary school age children that satisfy school district science requirements. The aim is to teach children about the environment, soils, and historical use of plants by Native Americans. Accredited teachers are hired and each year about 1000 eager children go through the program in spring and fall. These might be the future horticulturists and nursery owners of tomorrow so it’s vital to get them away from their electronic devices and expose them to plants and nature!
The money raised at the annual auction also goes to printed educational materials, purchasing plants, supporting garden renovations, the popular docent program and helping to fund Garden d’Lights, which is more fanciful every year and has become a must-see regional attraction for the holidays.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden has a lot in store in the coming future. They are raising funds for a new educational center, and are developing the new Ravine Garden, which will feature a 150-ft. suspension bridge and a Sun Terrace/Wetland Garden. Currently Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architects is designing the structures and entry sequence, and the renowned Dan Hinkley is consulting on appropriate plants. The BBG hopes to break ground in early 2011 for this new feature. - Janet
Recently I got together with a wonderful group of women for our second annual garden soiree, organized by sustainable garden designer extraordinaire, Stacie Crooks. Because Stacie is on the board of the Bloedel Reserve, she arranged for our group to have the place all to ourselves. It was a splendid Northwest day, the evening air soft and the late day’s sun glowing gently through the trees. We drank, ate, drank and ate, and wandered around the Bloedel reserve, soaking in the panoramic views. Because Stacie grew up near the reserve and had been a family friend of the Bloedel’s, she shared a lot of stories from her youth, giving us the chance to see the reserve from a completely different perspective.
But that’s really not why I’m writing now.
I recently downloaded the photos from that lovely July evening, only to find the photos did not match my vivid memories of this enchanted place! I had just bought a new camera that was highly recommended by Rick Darke, an author and garden photographer who was a speaker last February. But despite the fact my camera was set on the “Idiot Proof” setting I was disappointed in my photos. Garden photography is a lot harder than it looks!
And that’s when I thought, darn! I wished I had the chance to sit through David Perry’s seminar last February – “Garden Photo Magic: Mastering a Digital Point-and-Shoot Camera.” What little I did see of David’s seminar was not only brilliantly funny, it was chock full of good advice for a novice like me. You know you have a great speaker when even other garden photography professionals praised him after his seminar. He received two thumbs up from everyone I talked to.
Thank goodness David sent me a seminar proposal for the 2011 show. I’ll confess to a bit of ulterior motive having him repeat this seminar again – at a time when I might get to watch it. (That will be me inhaling my lunch at the back of the room, madly taking notes.)
David is teaming up with local garden writer Debra Prinzing for a new book – A Fresh Bouquet, focusing on organic and sustainable flower growing, gathering and designing. So I’m also planning to team them up with two seminars at the 2011 show – first David showing the photography of stunning floral bouquets, followed by Debra giving you the hands-on know-how, teaching you how to make those artful arrangements yourselves.
If you want to know more about how David and Debra are putting this book together, check out their blog at http://www.afreshbouquet.com/. And do go spend an afternoon touring the Bloedel Reserve. It’s a Northwest treasure that’s not to be missed. Visit their website at http://www.bloedelreserve.com/. - Janet
If you can’t make up your mind whether to go tour a garden, or perhaps go on an artwalk in town, then consider combining the two. The Bellevue Botanical Garden will be hosting its first ‘Art in the Garden’ event, Saturday and Sunday, August 28 & 29 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm each day. It’s free and open to the public.
There will be a wide variety of art and artists tucked away in places throughout this spectacular 53-acre garden. Some will be easy to find; others you will have to seek out as you stroll the paths through the many different gardens, which include woodlands, meadows, wetlands, a rock garden, fuchsia and dahlia displays and a perennial border. Who knows what will be waiting for you around the bend or hiding in the nooks and crannies? The mystery and the discovery will be part of the charm of this weekend event.
Sculptures and garden art by twenty outstanding Northwest artists will grace the gardens, each in its own private space. From the serious and simplistic to the whimsical and elaborate, exhibits will include works in metal, wood, blown and fused glass, bronze and other outdoor-appropriate materials. Here are a few of the many kinds of art that will be in the botanical garden:
A number of artists will be on hand to discuss their work; a percentage of all sales will be donated to support Garden projects. To make it more exciting, visitors will be given a ‘passport’ to be stamped by the artists; those with completed passports will be eligible for a prize, with the drawing at the close of the event.
A unique piece of art can transform a garden from ordinary to extraordinary. Your garden becomes more of a reflection of your own personality with a work of art placed just perfectly; it can add a mesmerizing focal point to your garden throughout the year as the flowers and foliage change around it.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden is located at 12991 Main Street in Bellevue. For directions visit their website at http://www.bellevuebotanical.org/visitor/fmdirections.htm - Janet
The good folks at the Elizabeth C. Miller Library have recently updated their book Wish List. The library staff has combed through hundreds of titles of books, purchased some books within their budget, and put the remaining book titles on their Wish List. You’re invited to either buy one or more books from the list, or donate funds to enable them to purchase the books.
I perused the Wish List and found some fascinating titles. Most have been published in the past few years so they are not obscure antiques. Prices range from $12 to $60 with a few costing more. Here’s a small sampling of the list:
Discovering Welsh Gardens by Steven Anderton (Graffeg/Peter Gill & Associates, 2009)
The Rose by David Austin (Antique Collector’s Club, Ltd., 2009)
Outsiders: A Book of Garden Friends by Ronald Blythe (Black Dog Books, 2009)
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter (Penguin Press, 2009)
Green Flowers: Unexpected Beauty for the Garden, Container or Vase by Alison Hoblyn (Timber Press, 2009)
The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants by Wolfgang Stuppy (Firefly Books, 2009)
Joe’s Urban Garden Handbook by Joe Swift (Quadrille, 2008)
The list also included a book that has to be one of my favorite titles, Yard Full of Sun: The Story of a Gardener’s Obsession That Got a Little Out of Hand, by Arizona writer and past garden show speaker Scott Calhoun (Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2005). I mean really – can’t you just relate to that book title? What self-respecting gardener hasn’t allowed their obsession to get a little out of hand? I know my husband would certainly say I have.
If you have any of the books on the Miller Library Wish List gathering dust on your bookshelf, or simply want to put your mouse and credit card to good use and purchase some books for donation, know that you will be supporting a Northwest treasure, one of the finest botanical libraries in the county. If you need more information, call 206-543-0415 or mail a donation to: Elizabeth C. Miller Library, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA, 98195 or visit their website at http://www.millerlibrary.org/. - Janet
The good folks at Plant Amnesty are certifiably committed – to their mission of saving trees and shrubs from damage and disfigurement at the hands of well-intentioned (but woefully uninformed) people. But only they could come up with an event titled “Tree Hugger Bingo & Chile Feed” to raise funds for this worthy cause. This raucous evening was so popular last year that they are repeating it, so get your tickets now and plan to attend Wednesday, September 22 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle.
And who better to call the bingo games than that irrepressible force of nature, Ciscoe Morris? His supporting cast will be Father Weedo Sarducci, Marilyn Monrovia, the Garden Angel, Weed Witch and the Bingo Bee. (If you don’t know who those people are imitating, then you might be too young to attend. Better brush up on reruns of old late night comedy and movies before the big night.)
Your $25 ticket includes your choice of hot, vegetarian, mild and/or meaty chile along with some chips. Plus the most essential item of the evening – your bingo card. If you’d like some healthy greens to go with your chile or some drinks to loosen you up, salad, beer, wine, soda and cake will be available for purchase. Chile is served at 6:30 pm and the games start at 7:00 pm.
Of course it wouldn’t be bingo without prizes, and Cass Turnbull and company has lined up some good ones, including hot plants, cool garden and arboriculture tools, elegant pots, garden books and many more. Odds of winning – a remarkable one in four! Odds of winning if you don’t attend? Zero, zip, nada! And the Plant Amnesty folks are so generous they even give consolation prizes to those who don’t win. So everyone who attends is a winner, and so are the trees and shrubs of our region when they are saved from senseless mutilation and torture by the experts at Plant Amnesty. These skilled arborists are the superheros for our trees and shrubs, and we’re glad to have them at the rescue.
This event sells out quickly, so get your $25 tickets now by calling 206-783-9813, ext. 1, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. No experience necessary! Not sold in any stores! Operators are standing by! (Must be 18 years or older to participate. Really. It’s some kind of law or something.) - Janet