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April Frolics: The Allure of Rare Plants, Muck Boots and Evening Gowns
Pick up a rare plant at Longwood auction, an objet d'art at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve...or learn art at Bartram's Garden.
Gardening in spring isn't all sore backs, muddy gloves and the heady perfume of newly turned compost.
For many public gardens, April is the coolest month for kicking up your heels and celebrating among the flowers – often while raising money for a good cause.
On April 28, parties at opposite ends of the Greater Philadelphia garden scene will be doing just that.
In Chester County, some of the horticultural world’s crème de la crème – both plants and people – will gather in the East Conservatory at Longwood Gardens for the 27th Annual Rare Plant Auction. This event, the oldest of its kind in the country, benefits the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Community Garden Program, which sustains and encourages community gardening projects in Wilmington’s neighborhoods.
In Bucks County, more of the horticultural crème de la crème will be donning muck boots with their Black Tie regalia for a wildflower walk during the fourth annual “Wild About Flowers” Spring Garden Gala of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. This fundraising event, which also features live and silent auctions, benefits the preserve’s conservation and educational programs.
And in mid-April, Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philadelphia will celebrate spring with a long-weekend exhibition featuring art work inspired by Bartram’s Garden and the Schuylkill River. “Garden & River,” Da Vinci Art Alliance at Bartram’s Garden, will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on April 13 with a meet-the-artists opening reception.
(Pictured at top right is Standing in the Garden, by Rachel Citrino.)
Rare Plant Auction
Not too many plants go under the gavel of a Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneer, but that will be the case when Dean Failey conducts the Live Auction of a select group of rare and unusual plants at the Rare Plant Auction. They aren’t the only high-class plants up for grabs, however – another 400-plus will be up for bid during the evening’s Silent Auction. On hand throughout will be the event’s Celebrated Plant Expert – author, photographer, and garden designer Ken Druse.
Druse will also give a lecture on the morning of April 28. He will present “Adventures in Horticulture! The Trowels and Tribulations of an Island Garden” in the Visitor Center Auditorium at Longwood, which will be followed by Nancy Goslee Power’s presentation on “Designing Gardens in California.” Nancy, along with Coleman and Susan Townsend, is serving as an honorary chairman of the event.
Tickets begin at $200. Reservations are required and can be made online at www.dehort.org or by calling the Delaware Center for Horticulture at 302.658.6262, ext. 100. For more information, contact Barbara Belli, Communications Manager, at 302.658.6262, ext. 104 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild About Flowers
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve subtitles its gala “an evening of elegance in the woods,” and suggests that guests wear “black tie and muck boots.” Why? Because the festivities include a stroll through the woods, to enjoy native wildflowers such as bluebells, trillium and spring beauty in breathtaking bloom.
This evening fundraiser, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m., is intended to showcase the preserve and its extraordinary collection of native Pennsylvania flora flourishing in naturalistic settings.
Of course there are plants up for auction – one-of-a-kind native plant collections, in fact – but there are lots of other items, too, including antiques and garden statuary. Also up for bids will be a private landscape consultation with the Preserve’s Executive Director Miles Arnott, a tour of the private Blanchard-Hill Folk Art Collection in New York City and a Frida Howling original, a stay at the Ship’s Inn in Nantucket, a plane ride over Bucks County, a personalized dim sum dinner for 10, and a day in Washington from the office of Congressman Patrick Murphy (District 8).
Tickets are $150 per person, and Patron tickets are $250 per person. For more information, call 215.862.2924, or visit the web site at www.bhwp.org. Reservations are requested by April 15.
Garden & River
This three-day weekend celebration runs April 13-15, and focuses on an art exhibit, gallery tours and workshops. The exhibit will be in the Bartram Barn, and the workshops – for adults and children – will be held in the Bartram Coach House. For a full schedule of tours and workshops, which include “Art Appreciation,” “Weaving,” “Chalk Murals on Paper,” and “Collage and Drawing,” visit the web site at www.bartramsgarden.org.
All events at “Garden & River” are free, but registration is required (Call 215.729.5281 Ext. 103, or e-mail email@example.com.)
Bartram’s Garden is at 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard in Philadelphia.