by Beth Monroe, Public Relations & Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
As we reflect on the many highlights of 2013, the Splendor Under Glass gala is certainly one of them. Held on November 23, the event kicked off the annual holiday Dominion GardenFest of Lights. More than 400 guests attended and were “Entwined” with Nature to support the Garden’s educational mission and passion for connecting people and plants to improve the community. They came also to honor Ann Lee Saunders Brown (Mrs. Charles L. Brown), for her love of nature and her life-long commitment to education.
Ann Lee is a true visionary who supported and encouraged Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Colonial Williamsburg, UVA, Collegiate School, VMI and many others. She lives with unfettered joy and it is not coincidence she and her sister Jane Quinn Saunders chose our entryway Four Seasons Garden to honor their parents. It’s a place that evokes passionate beauty and interest for the natural world in all generations through all seasons of the year.
The evening’s highlight came when two sisters, 9-year-old Lora and 6-year-old Lenna Chandler, expressed their love of the Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter and presented Brown with a basket of gratitude and good wishes on the Garden’s behalf. Inside the basket were a pomegranate for the plenty of life, a rose for the beauty in life, honey for the sweetness in life, and a fairy wand for the magic in life, also reminiscent of Brown’s childhood delight of dressing as a garden fairy with her sister Jane Quinn Saunders.
Local talent and items were celebrated throughout the evening. Attendees purchased one-of-a-kind items at a “Lush and Local Marketplace” offering delicacies and treasures ranging from house-made chutney to over-the-top creative wreaths to birdhouses hand-crafted by Garden volunteers and decorated by Gala committee members and friends.
An art auction featured works by some of the area’s most celebrated talent, including a signature piece by Tenley Beazley aptly titled “Entwined.” Proceeds from the event support the non-profit Garden’s educational mission.
The sumptuous farm-to-table style dinner was prepared by caterer Meriwether Godsey incorporating locally sourced items. Guests were greeted by Georgine Muc playing the bandura, a Ukrainian folk instrument, and musical entertainment throughout dinner was by Mitch Seekins and his band performing jazz standards.
Committee Chair for this year’s Splendor Under Glass was Madeline Hutcheson Mayood and co-chairs were Peyton Wells and Jennifer Rector. A team of Garden staff and volunteers also made the event possible.
All photos by SJ Collins Photography. Some material for this blog were taken from the Splendor Under Glass program.