Hot Night in the Hothouse
by Beth Monroe, Public Relations Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Splendor Under Glass fundraising gala on November 19 transformed the Conservatory into exotic international locales with its “Orchids Around the World” theme. The theme was chosen in anticipation of the new Orchids Galore! exhibit at the Garden March 10 – April 12, 2011.
Eight hundred orchids helped create vignettes evoking the Great Barrier Reef of Australia; a South American orchid cloud forest; Hawaii, India and Japan. As Splendor Under Glass co-chair Peyton Wells explained, “Everything about the event was designed to be vibrant and interactive.”
More than 475 guests attended and $312,000 was raised to support the Garden’s educational mission. A new feature of this year’s live auction allowed guests to bid on a donation to Garden programs for under-served and at-risk children and youth, raising more than $38,000 toward those efforts. (The Garden serves more than 42,000 children each year through school-related and other activities.) Splendor Under Glass co-chair Martha Sherman pointed to the success of the event as proof that people recognize the Garden’s leadership role and thanked supporters, especially presenting sponsors Hourigan Construction Company and Albemarle Corporation. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Wick were honorary chairs; Mrs. Wick is a former Garden board president.
Here’s a look back:
Guests were wowed by an Asian Arbor in the Visitors Center which set the tone for the evening.
The short walk from the Visitors Center to the Conservatory was THE first look anyone outside of the Garden has had of this year’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights show – now up to more than 700,000 twinkling lights!
At the beginning of the evening, guests enjoyed mingling and admiring the fantasy-world décor, including many items that were part of the silent auction.
International dancers performed as guests enjoyed cuisines from around the world, expertly prepared and served by the Garden’s caterer Meriwether Godsey. A successful live auction followed by dancing with music by Complete Desire rounded out the evening.
“More than 100 people came together to make Splendor Under Glass happen,” explained Peyton Wells, who has been working on the event since January with co-chair Martha Sherman. “Volunteers and staff put together the decorations, created and secured auction items and sponsorships; many local artists also donated their work.”
This Splendor Under Glass will be remembered for its extraordinary support from the community and the fabulous job the decorators did highlighting the fabulous floral displays, showcasing the flowers and natural beauty of the Garden itself.