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Column: Garden Envy to benefit Atlanta Botanical Garden
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
March 27, 2013 01:03 PM | 4064 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Garden Envy, set for April 4, is a creative auction idea for expanding your plants and garden treasures via the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden Associates are hosting their second sociable evening auction of rare plants and garden treasures at the Piedmont Avenue oasis to raise funds for the garden’s Jitsuko Johnson Plant Explorer Fund.

Guests are invited to enjoy the nighttime beauty of the garden while sipping cocktails and nibbling hors d’oeuvres and participating in the silent auction to take home rare botanical treasures. The fund provides travel for staff and collaborators to collect plant material for enriching and expanding the garden’s collections. Portions of the 2012 auction helped subsidize trips to North Carolina and Taiwan.

This year’s event will honor Georgia’s premier gardener, Walter Reeves. Reeves is renowned as a garden author, newspaper columnist and radio and television host. He grew up on a small Georgia farm in Fayette County, where his family raised chickens and cows. Now he is the most respected garden guru in the Southeast and even distributes a biweekly garden newsletter via e-mail.

This year’s event co-chairs are Tisa Moore and Becky Wallis.

“The funds raised at the 2013 Garden Envy event will go towards providing rare treasurers for the Atlanta Botanical Garden — for a lasting effect on our collections,” said Laura Rogers, the garden associates’ board chair.

The nonprofit garden has a 30-acre campus of indoor and outdoor gardens including: the award-wining Children’s Garden, Storza Woods highlighted by the Canopy Walk, an innovative Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen and the indoor Fuqua Conservatory, home to the foremost collection of orchids in the U.S.

Tickets and information: (678) 910-9569 or visit

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Foodies and humanitarians will gather April 11 at 7:30 p.m. for a special 25th anniversary edition of Taste of the Nation Atlanta at the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. The event will benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

The gala is the nation’s premiere culinary fundraiser dedicated to making sure no child grows up hungry. Each spring the nation’s most notable chefs and mixologists donate their time, talents and passion at nearly 40 events across the U.S. and Canada with the one goal in mind: to raise the critical funds needed to support Share Our Strength’s goal.

Lauded as the largest culinary benefit in the country, this year’s black-tie-optional gala in Atlanta will sample gourmet food and wines from 50 participating chefs and restaurants while offering guests live entertainment and auctions featuring unique chef dinners, getaways, fine wines and spa packages.

Pano Karatassos, founder and CEO of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, has led the event since 1988 and is co-chairing this year’s anniversary gala with George McKerrow, co-founder and CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill. Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal are honorary co-chairs.

A longtime proponent of Share Our Strength’s mission, Nathan Deal has served the state for more than four decades as a prosecutor, judge, state senator and U.S. congressman. Renowned food writer and columnist for Esquire magazine and Bloomberg News John Mariani will join the event as a special guest.

Hunger is widespread in Georgia, with one in four children struggling with hunger throughout the state. Proceeds from Taste of the Nation Atlanta will support local organizations including the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Genesis: A New Life and Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters Georgia.

Tickets and information: (770) 436-5151 or visit

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The annual spring luncheon for the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Guild April 12 at the Cherokee Town Club on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead has a major agenda with a special speaker and entertainment.

Local author Frances Statham will give a speech on the history of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, while an ensemble from the school will present a musical program during the luncheon. Saoirse Scott, the guild’s scholarship student for 2013, will receive her award check.

Outgoing guild president Ann Burks will pass the gavel and install a new slate of 2013 officers: president Linda Wickham, first vice president Louise McCann, second vice president Diana Bradley, recording secretary Gayle Mabe, corresponding secretary Jackie Englehart and treasurer Carol Sharkey.

The event will conclude with a silent auction to supplement fundraising aspects for scholarships. The luncheon planning committee is: McCann, Rubye Reid, June Hodge, Lucy Ullmann and Glenda Young.

Founded in the early 1900s to give a basic education to underprivileged students in the remote North Georgia mountain area, the school has evolved into a private school integrated with public facilities. Nevertheless, its purposes are still important to devoted Atlanta patrons such as members of the guild and alumni who continue to fund important scholarship programs.

The guild represents several generations of dedicated Northside people interested in helping students achieve their highest potential no matter how isolated they may be or how limited their financial resources.

Invitations and information: (404) 261-1123.

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Andrea Barnwell Brownlee will be honored with the High Museum of Art’s David C. Driskell Prize April 13 at 6:30 p.m. at a formal dinner presentation in the Wieland Pavilion at the High’s campus on Peachtree Street in Midtown.

An Atlanta resident, art historian, curator and writer, Brownlee is the director of Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the only U.S. museum dedicated to visual art made by and about women of the African diaspora. She is widely recognized for her leadership, vision and significant exhibition agenda at Spelman.

“Dr. Brownlee’s leadership for the Spelman Museum has helped engage thousands of visitors through highly significant exhibitions and acquisitions,” High Director Michael E. Shapiro said. “Her vision for the museum and passion for the arts exemplifies the qualities of the David C. Driskell Prize.”

Established in 2005 to honor Driskell, a practicing artist and scholar whose work on the African diaspora spans more than four decades, the annual prize is the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African-American art and art history. A cash award of $25,000 accompanies the prize.

The event is co-chaired by Joe Bankoff, Juanita Baranco and Ingrid Saunders Jones. Sally McDaniel is serving as the honorary chair. Proceeds from the dinner go toward the High’s David C. Driskell African-American art acquisition and endowment funds.

Spelman is a four-year, liberal arts women’s college chartered on the Atlanta University Center campus in 1924 and now ranked among the top 50 colleges by U.S. News and World Report. The Spelman Museum is located on campus and provides a learning environment for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public.

The High, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association and now a part of the nonprofit Woodruff Arts Center, is the leading art museum in the Southeast. With more than 13,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art, significant holdings of European paintings and a growing collection of African American art.

Tickets and information: (404) 733-4403 or visit

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For 48 years equestrian aficionados have joined professional owners and competitors for the colorful Atlanta Steeplechase, a springtime day of racing and socializing.

Mark your calendar for April 13 and join the best-dressed crowd at beautiful Kingston Downs off U.S. 411 (Gore Springs Road) between Cartersville and Rome.

While the Steeplechase always makes for a Saturday of exciting events and camaraderie, there is a greater purpose. The race is also a fundraiser for the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and for Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground for special-needs children.

The country’s top steeplechasers are expected to participate in the races sanction by the National Steeplechase Association. For uninitiated first-timers, the definition of a “steeplechase” race is when trained thoroughbred horses compete on tracks with brush jumps. There will be four runs of this category and one “turf” race with no jumps.

Additional activities around the beautifully manicured 460-acre grounds will include terrier races, pony rides, children’s events, hat contests, an air show, live music and an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales. Spectators are invited to set up a spot for an afternoon of congeniality, meander along the beautiful grounds and enjoy the most exciting horse racing in Georgia with family and friends!

Viewing locations vary from exclusive sponsor boxes to Tents on the Turn and the action-filled infield where attendees can enjoy a Jack Russell terrier race, the Verizon Kidz Corral, rock climbing, a petting zoo and shopping. General admission tickets are $38.50 for adults through and free for children 12 and under.

Steeplechase Executive Director Jean Bird and Marketing Director India Watson both live in from Buckhead, and board members from the Northside helping support and coordinate the daylong races are: George Chase, Jim Wayt, Gina Christman, Jo Leinbach, Mike Dever, Richard Gilmore and Terry Graham.

The Steeplechase recommends using the directions to Kingston Downs on its website.

Reserved tickets and information: (404) 237-7436 or visit

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