The idyllic mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina, draws countless visitors seeking a quiet getaway, breathtaking vistas, or heart-pumping outdoor activities. During the week of July 7th, 2009, flower lovers will have another reason to trek to this destination spot. The 11th annual Mountains in Bloom Garden Festival celebrates a diverse collection of gardens lovingly tended by both full and part-time residents of this mountain community.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of a few of these locations earlier this year, before spring had fully arrived, and even then they were impressive. From formal designs to rambling hillsides, the gardens range in ages and styles, as one would expect, and the homeowners have a vested and dedicated interest in “flowering” their part of the mountain.
Alongside weekend tours of these green oases, the 2009 Festival includes a competitive Flower Show, Home and Garden Shop, and entertaining and informative weekday lectures by Highlands’ own Margie Shambaugh, landscape designer Chip Callaway, and interior designer Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill. Rounding out the week of festivities, the “Mountain Moments” Flower Show, showcasing a photography division for the first time this year, welcomes competitors in horticulture and floral design. Entrants will surely find ample inspiration in the natural and artistic themed floral design categories, and there’s even a chance for children to get involved, using an old hiking boot as a container!
The 2009 Mountains in Bloom Garden Festival benefits the Bascom, a cultural arts center whose thoughtfully constructed new home is destined to draw even more to Highlands. After years spent in shared space, the Bascom can now stretch its legs and host even more visual arts workshops, exhibits, and lectures and provide a beautiful backdrop for events like weddings and receptions. A covered bridge entrance leads to carefully designed buildings that utilized reclaimed barn wood and vintage timbers while achieving the high standards of museum quality construction.
Meet the Lecturers:
In addition to his landscape work, Chip Callaway is equally well known for his garden restoration, which include projects for Wake Forest University and various historical foundations and private individuals. His work has appeared in magazines such as Garden & Gun, Southern Accents, andSouthern Living. Though most of his time is spent working in the Carolinas and Virginia, Callaway has taken on projects in Palm Beach, Nantucket, and England.
Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, the eldest daughter of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, began her own design company, Woodstock Designs, in 1981 and takes commissions worldwide. She also teaches at the New York School of Interior Design and other schools in London. Her books center on topics of Classic style and details and Georgian style, including one written about her ancestral home, Blenheim Palace.