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History in bloom:Garden Gala prepares for 25th annual event


Staff Writer

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Not even the pandemic could keep the 25th Annual Garden Gala from popping up again like a springtime perennial in Jonesborough this year.

 The garden tour event, which takes place each year in gardens in and around Jonesborough and is sponsored by the Tuesday Garden Club and the Schubert Club, will make its return on Saturday, May 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year, Garden Gala Chairperson Dona Lewis said the event is designed to highlight the same allure of the garden tour — even if it couldn’t offer its tear portion of the event — while also keeping guests safe amid the pandemic.

 “We really had hoped it would be a really, really great tea, which we can’t have because of COVID-19,” Lewis said. “We didn’t know how to plan for this event. Because of the way things were going (with the pandemic), we didn’t know where we’d be at this time of the year. We wanted it to be special because it is the 25th anniversary.”

 To honor the history of the 25-year-old event, the tour, which will be within walking distance from garden to garden, will feature a couple of gardens that were also a part of the very first Garden Gala.

 “It will be pretty interesting to see how things have grown,” Lewis said. “People will see that. There are people that have come for 25 years and they will see the difference that has been made.”

 The tour will also offer a seminar on raised-bed gardening led by author and gardener Scott Thompson from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. in the Washington County Library garden. That event will offer limited seating and requires a separate ticket for $15.

 “We have had seminars in the past,” Lewis said, “But sometimes we have so many gardens that if someone went to a seminar, they wouldn’t have time to go to everything. So this raised-bed seminar is going to be on herbs and edible flowers. Which is, I think, pretty interesting.”

 The Garden Gala ticket proceeds help maintain the garden at the library while also helping raise scholarship funds for David Crockett High School students involved in Future Farmers of America.

 “Raising money was one of the priorities,” Lewis said. “It was one of the priorities because we give back to the community and we support the library garden and scholarships for FFA students that help us throughout the year in the garden.” 

 Lewis said she felt the annual event returns each spring due to local interest in gardens of all sorts and a love for gardening that keeps growing year to year.

 “They all take such pride in their gardens that they like showing them off,” Lewis said. “They like showing people what can be done in small spaces, hillsides, rocks, a very Victorian-type of garden, a terrace garden … there are all different kinds. 

“Some of them are small little cottage types with a lot of wildflowers. Some are more formal. It’s quite a variety.”

 The garden tour will be held on May 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration will be held at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets for the Garden Gala are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and may be purchased online at or by calling the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010. 

For tickets or information on the raised-bed seminar, call (423) 571-7673 or email [email protected]