Decorative garden and front porch, part of the garden area and decor at the home of Johnathan Adams. Johnathan will be this year's gala seminar speaker and is reportedly the best garden decorator in Jonesborough! Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press
The 18th annual Jonesborough Garden Gala, set for May 24, will take guests on a whimsical exploration of the many possibilities of outdoor entertaining through a tour of public and private gardens throughout the old town.
The daylong charitable gala will begin with the first outdoor seminar in the event’s history, a morning session on how to transform throwaway items into artistic landscaping treasures and other entertaining ideas from Jonesborough resident Jonathan Adams.
The seminar will be held on the lawn of Adams’ East Main Street home, where his skillful outdoor decorating has long been the envy of many a talented gardener.
It will include demonstrations and instructions for such artistic tricks as how to quickly and easily snap and sand wine bottles to create unique luminaries, candle holders or serving glasses and how to position party tables to allow guests to enjoy the best of a garden space.
Instruction and literature on how to enhance the depth and beauty of a lawn or garden with skillful placement of decorating treasures, how to create conversation areas with chalk paint and how an to use an old vintage door to create an attractive garden entryway or screen an unsightly outdoor area will also be included.
Tickets for the morning seminar are $20 and include admission to a Southern style brunch at the Jonesborough Repertory Theater’s Stage Door featuring homemade pimento cheese, tomato bisque and elegant chocolates. Seating at the seminar and brunch will be limited to the first 30 guests to register.
Afternoon tours of several of the most lush gardens in Jonesborough will follow. Tours include a tea with sweet and savory treats prepared by volunteers from the Tuesday Garden Club and the Schubert Club of Jonesborough to be served in one select garden along the way.
A garden marketplace featuring eclectic garden artists and vendors will be set up on the Storytelling Center Plaza across the street from the Stage Door, beginning at 9 a.m. Jonesborough’s Farmers Market at the courthouse will run consecutively with the gala events.
“There will be a lot going on in town that day, a lot to see,” said volunteer Nansee Williams.
Master gardeners, artists and classic storybook princesses portrayed by members of the JRT will be on hand in each garden on the tour to awe, entertain and provide answers to guests’ gardening questions.
While the JRT princesses will escort tour guests into a land of enchanting garden dreams, Williams said their main role will be to entertain children.
“This year we’re encouraging everyone to bring their kids,” Williams said.
Tickets for the afternoon garden tours and tea are $12 in advance or $15 on the day of the event. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Visitors Center, online at jonesboroughtheatre.com, from any member of the Shubert or Tuesday Garden clubs or by calling the visitors center at 753-1010.
Registration for the event will take place beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Jonesborough Visitors Center on Boone Street. The afternoon garden tour will commence at 12:30 with gala swaths and tour maps available for pickup at the Visitors Center.
Shuttle vans will transport guests to the separately ticketed morning seminar and brunch, beginning at 9:30 a.m., and also will be available for those unable to walk to the gardens on the tour.
Organized and hosted by the clubs with help from the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners and the Southern Appalachian Plant Society, the gala’s proceeds go to the many community causes supported by the clubs, including beautification of Jonesborough’s public spaces, the Jonesborough Library, the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association Pantry, a Garden Club scholarship for a horticulture student at David Crockett High School, the Jonesborough Police Department’s Shop with a Cop project for low-income children at Christmas and others.
“The more guests we have at the gala, the more money we have to give back to the community,” Williams said.