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BRGC’s Third Mile of Flowers Garden Tour & Symposium is a Sellout Event for Gardening Month

by Erika Giovanetti

June 19, 2013. The Blowing Rock Garden Club (BRGC) hosts the Mile of Flowers Garden Tour & Symposium June 21. The sold out event features a box lunch picnic at the Chetola Lake, a presentation by guest speaker Charles Duell, guided tours through local private gardens and more. It’s a great opportunity to “branch out” in the community.

BRGCThe Mile of Flowers Garden Tour has a capacity of 220 guests, and the event was a sellout from the start.

“We keep our price down just to cover our costs. We use it as a gift to the community of Blowing Rock to bring in visitors and to share the beautiful gardens in the area,” said Susan Sweet of the BRGC.

A lecture by Charles Duell, president of the Middleton Place Foundation in Charleston, SC, takes place at Chetola Restort. Duell, also the author of Middleton Place, a Phoenix Still Rising, speaks on “The Restoration of the Middleton Gardens, the Oldest Garden in America.” A question and answer period and book signing follows the lecture.

From noon until 4 p.m., patrons may take a self-guided garden tour of private gardens in Blowing Rock. Maps of the gardens are provided, and transportation by trolley is also available. Some notable gardens include the Azalea Garden Inn, Don and Margie Iorio’s garden, the Tallman/Zuravel Garden, and the Hedgehog Cottage.

The Azalea Garden Inn has been in the Knoll family since 1976. When Hank and Jimmie Knoll bought the inn, there were no gardens, despite the name. They spent years restoring the cabin and planting the lovely gardens seen today, and then passed the inn down to their children. The garden is decorated with yard art by local artists Louis Torres and Ronnie Gunter, and many of these unique pieces are for sale.

Don and Margie Iorio’s garden is a piece of High Country history. The cabin on their property dates back from the 1890’s, making it one of the oldest standing structures in Blowing Rock. Visitors are welcome to tour the cabin and the garden, so keep an eye out for all the cute concrete figures hiding in the flowers.

The Tallman/Zuravel garden compliments the beautiful 1904 treetop lodge by which it resides. Sam Tallman and Mike Zuravel renovated the lodge after purchasing it in 1998, and much effort was devoted to ensuring the house maintained its original character, the garden included.

Douglas and Sandra Warner are passionate about visiting English gardens, so when they moved to Blowing Rock a decade ago, they decided to name their property Hedgehog Cottage and decorate their garden in an English style. The Warner’s pay homage to England again by adorning their garden with saddle stones, which were structures built on top of stones to keep the hay or grain protected from rodents.

Afternoon tea is served at Rumple House on Main Street from 2 to 4 p.m. During this time, aspiring gardeners can also go shopping at Edgewood Cottage on Main Street, which offers garden-related items made by the BRGC.

If you missed the opportunity to attend this tour, make sure to go to Sweet’s “Hostas of Blowing Rock” Brunch and Home Garden Tour at Timberlake’s at Chetola. Sweet will talk about the history, care and feeding of hostas. Brunch and a private garden tour are included. The event costs $18 and takes place Monday, June 24, at 9:45 a.m.

For further general information about the Mile of Flowers Garden Tour & Symposium or the “Hostas of Blowing Rock” brunch, contact Susan Sweet at 828-263-8399.