"Imagine a Garden" is the theme of Sacred Heart Cultural Center's 11th annual Garden Festival, which showcases Augusta and its horticulture.
The theme suggests that a garden is what the gardener wants it to be, a place to create and dream, said Nan Shaefer, the center's development director. "It's their place where they go to rest, relax, think, play in the dirt and enjoy themselves," she said.
The festival includes garden exhibits, floral design displays, garden and floral lectures and vendors at Sacred Heart, 1301 Greene St. "Certainly, with our display gardens in the great hall, you'll get some wonderful ideas of different ways to put your plant material together," Mrs. Shaefer said.
The event begins with a preview party from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart. Admission to the party is $40.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 21-23. Admission is $20, with a 10 percent discount for tickets bought at Sacred Heart by Monday. To make reservations and purchase tickets, call 826-4700 or visit the center's Web site at www.sacredheartaugusta.org or e-mail at email@example.com.
The garden festival will have some new plants being introduced into Augusta, she said. "You get to see original ways to display, but you also get a good idea of what plants grow here, and that's helpful, so you don't waste your money buying something that probably isn't going to live," she said.
A main festival focus is education, Mrs. Shaefer said.
"We're trying to help people learn the best ways to landscape, so that their landscape dollars are used wisely, and we have just a wonderful series of speakers to help them understand how to choose plant material for the way their yards are set up," she said.
The other aspect of education is the Emily Cleckley Student Competition, which features terrariums and writings this year.
The Partridge Inn is setting up a tearoom in the great hall, so festival goers can spend the entire day visiting the exhibit gardens, listening to the speakers and dining in the tearoom.
Garden tours on the Hill include the Cummings Road gardens of Freddie Flynt and Cissy and Joe Boyd; Sandra and Scott Allen's Montrose Road garden; Michelle and Brad Cameron's entry garden on Milledge Road and Dana and Gregg Gays' Comfort Road garden, which has several historic plants.
The festival, which is expected to draw 2,000 to 2,500 visitors, will be staffed by about 200 volunteers, many of them master gardeners, Mrs. Shaefer said.
The money will be used for the programs and upkeep of Sacred Heart Cultural Center.
The great hall opens at 11 a.m., but lectures begin at 10 a.m.
"You might not like to garden, but you get to come and go through everybody else's garden and pretend," Mrs. Shaefer said. "So you can live vicariously, which is what a lot of us do, which is kind of why we picked the title "Imagine a Garden." It's a nice little getaway at the end of winter and to remind you that spring is coming."
LET IT GROW
WHAT: SACRED HEART CULTURAL CENTER GARDEN FESTIVAL
WHEN: Preview party 7-10 p.m. Thursday, flower show 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 21-23
WHERE: Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St.
COST: $40 for preview party, $20 for all other festival events, with 10 percent discount for tickets purchased in advance. Call 826-4700 or visit the center's Web site at www.sacredheartaugusta.org or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPEAKERS: March 21: 10 a.m. to noon, flower arranging demonstration with Marlin Hargrove of Park East Flowers, Atlanta; 1-2 p.m., Abuses & Excuses for Cultivating and Designing with Hydrangeas & Their Kin, with Rick Crown and Richard Simpson of Madison Gardens; 2:15-3 p.m., The Romance of Herbs, with Kirk Moore of Garden Market Ventures, Ltd. March 22: 10-11 a.m., Plants That Beat the Heat, with Tom Harvey of The Atlanta Botanical Gardens; 11:15 a.m. to noon, Ask the Experts, with Tom Harvey, Ted Stephens and Sid Mullis; 12:30-1:15 p.m., Succeeding With Hydrangeas - Old and New, with Ted Stephens of Nurseries Caroliniana; and 1:30-2:15 p.m., Orchid Fever, with Peter Kobe of The Augusta Orchid Society
OTHER EVENTS: The State Botanical Gardens of Georgia - A Slide Presentation, 2 p.m. Thursday, The Morris Museum of Art, 1 10th St., 724-7501; two-for-one admission to Augusta Golf and Gardens, Reynolds Street at 12th Street, with garden festival ticket.
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or email@example.com.