published Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Raising funds, pinkies for Grandmothers Garden - Dec. 14

Guests at the tea are encouraged to dress in their seasonal finery.

  • photo
    "Grandmother's Garden" is a new feature to be designed by nationally renowned garden designer Jon Carloftis at Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center at Reflection Riding. Photo by Christopher Hirscheimer

The Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center at Reflection Riding will host a Grandmothers Holiday Tea on Saturday Dec. 14, to support the property’s new Grandmothers Garden. A variety of holiday foods and fresh lashings of hot tea will be served.

“Our last tea was a Mother’s Day tea, and it was a wonderful celebration of both family and springtime,” says event committee chairwoman Sharon Turner. “The guests wore adorable hats, the servers wore big aprons, and we all devoured tasty little sandwiches and treats.”

The event is making a return because, she says, “so many of the guests asked us to do it again, and … it’s a wonderful opportunity to show off Reflection Riding in the winter. Sometimes we forget how beautiful nature is when she sleeps, and the intimate venue of a tea is a perfect way to slow down and admire the property.”

The Holiday Tea will have two seatings, at 11:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children ages 8-12.

Guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite seasonal finery. On arrival, they will be greeted by the sounds of board member Caroline Hudson playing holiday favorites on harp. The event will feature warm and wholesome foods including roast beef and brie with cranberry and warm scones as well as holiday cookies and cakes.

“A good cup of hot tea is the ultimate in comfort food and, for many, one of the most civilized things in the world,” Turner says. “The thing about a tea is, it’s intimate and encourages the guests to mingle and meet each other [as well as] take time to enjoy Humphreys House and the landscape. The tea is a lot like Reflection Riding — once you get there, it’s personal.”

Funds raised at the Holiday Tea will go toward the creation of the Grandmothers Garden. Attendees will see a presentation of the garden’s design and plans for its placement in front of historic Humphreys House. A Grandmothers Garden is an old-fashioned cottage garden with native and non-native plants, which male and female impressionist artists began planting near the turn of the century so as to have beautiful gardens and flowers to paint.

“Our Grandmothers Garden will be an old-fashioned garden that invites you to linger,” Turner says. “Think of the cottage gardens of Jane Austen’s books. They make you want to bring a book or a picnic or both.”

Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center is at 400 Garden Road. To register for the tea, call 423-821-1160.

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