As “A Writer’s Garden” Symposium And Luncheon Nears, Patrons Gather At Diane And Scott Sealy’s For Sipping And Sampling

Just days before “A Writer’s Garden” at the Dallas Arboretum, Diane and Scott Sealy hosted at cocktail reception on Monday, October 30, at their home complete with the pre-event book sales, food and foodies from Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. Here’s a report from the field:

Scott and Diane Sealy*

The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden held a reception for the patrons of the 11th annual A Writer’s Garden” Literary Symposium and Luncheon on Monday, October 30, in the home of Diane and Scott Sealy.

The symposium “Authentic Texas…food and gardensto be held on November 2 features three authors presenting engaging histories showcasing the cultural influences that shaped the distinct styles of Texas food, heartfelt stories about the farming and ranching families that are in the forefront of the organic food movement, and personal experiences that celebrate the value of using native plants and flowers in the planned landscape.

For the reception, guests were treated not only to a preview of the books that will be available for sale at the event, but also sampled appetizers made with recipes from Texas author Jessica Dupuy’s new cookbook “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State.”

Elizabeth Rois-Mendez*

Marsha Dowler*

Susan Adzick and Kay Weeks*

Chef Elizabeth Rois-Mendez of Classic Gourmet Catering prepared delicious recipes including Pimento Cheese Canapes, The Original Nacho, Texas Gulf Fish Tacos with side of Chipotle Mayo, Tequila Lime Pie, and Texas Pecan Pie. It was a smart marketing ploy by Co-Chairs Kay Weeks and Susan Adzick to kick start the book sales. Marsha Dowler, who manages the sales each year, allowed guests to pre-order the books that evening to ensure they get a copy. In past years, attendees at the symposium have left empty handed when the books sold out quickly. It looks to be another year where attendees may have to order online from Amazon.

Nanci Taylor, Dorothea Meltzer and Terri Taylor*

None of the featured authors could be present, so special guests for the evening were Nanci Taylor and Terri Taylor from the local magazine Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. For eight years, they have shared stories of the North Texas food community including growers, food and drink artisans, merchants, restaurateurs and chefs. The quarterly publication features recipes from each season.

Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis introduced Honorary Chair Nancy Bierman, founder of “A Writer’s Garden” and past president of the Women’s Council. She also thanked Dorothea Meltzer for securing another stellar line up of authors for the program, ensuring the success of the event. Dorothea has worked tirelessly to plan the speakers for the past several years.

Cynthia Beaird, Jill Goldberg and Venise Stuart*

Guests included Mad Hatter’s Chair Venise Stuart, Sarah and Mark Hardin, Barbara and Bob Bigham, Jo Anne and Mike McCullough, Jill Goldberg, Cynthia Beaird, Linda Spina, Lisa and Kendall Laughlin and Patricia Cowlishaw.

Sponsors for the event include Dallas law firm Geary, Porter and Donovan (third year of sponsorship), Hilton Dallas/Park Cities, Worth New York and Edible Dallas and Fort Worth.

The symposium will be held Thursday, November 2, 2017, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall and is part of the Women’s Council’s 35th Anniversary Celebration.

As part of the Women’s Council’s 35th anniversary celebration, the featured authors for the Thursday, November 2nd symposium at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall include:

  • Jessica Dupuy of Austin — well-known columnist for Texas Monthly and author of “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State”;
  • Pamela Walker of Santa Fe — local farm and food activist, and author of “Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers across the State”;
  • Andrea De-Long-Amaya of Austin— Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, garden columnist and teacher.

For the past thirty-five years, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the development, funding, maintenance and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Dallas Arboretum. Dedicated to the universal spirit of women, it is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, built by women and funded by the efforts of women. The support of over 550 members of the non-profit, all volunteer Women’s Council makes possible the continued improvement and expansion of A Woman’s Garden.

* Photo provided by Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum

A Writer’s Garden Plans Announced With A Taste Of “Authentic Texas”

There’s a mistaken belief that the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s only claim to fame is its annual Mad Hatter’s Tea in the spring. Not so. For 35 years, the organization has been responsible for A Woman’s Garden’s development, maintenance and endowment and that takes more funding than a tea party can provide.

That’s why they established “A Writer’s Garden” Literary Symposium and Luncheon 11 years ago. It provides the opportunity for authors and speakers to share their “rich histories about gardens, architecture and art and illuminating stores of extraordinary individuals and events.”

Kay Weeks, Nancy Bierman and Susan Adzick*

On Monday, August 28, Symposium Co-Chairs Susan Adzick and Kay Weeks held a kick-off party at Ginger and Rod Sager‘s home to announce 2017 Symposium plans to a crowd including Women’s Council President Melissa LewisMichelle Mew, Lisa Laughlin, Ramona Jones, Sharon Barbee, Cynthia Beaird, Linda Huffines, Judy Birchfield and Barbara and Bob Bigham.

Dorothea Meltzer and Melissa Lewis*

Barbara and Bob Bigham*

In addition to Nancy Bierman’s serving as honorary chair, this year’s theme will be “Authentic Texas… Food and Gardens” to coincide with the opening of the Arboretum’s new “A Tasteful Place.” To support the theme, Susan, Kay and Program Chair Dorothea Meltzer have arranged for a pretty heady lineup of speakers, who will “showcase the cultural influences that shaped the distinct styles of Texas food, heartfelt stories about the farming and ranching families that are in the forefront of the organic food movement, and personal experiences that celebrate the value of using native plants and flowers in the planned landscape.”

The presentations and luncheon will take place on Thursday, November 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall, the following speakers will be on the program:

  • Jessica Dupuy of Austin is a native Texan who writes about wine, spirits, food, and travel. In her latest book, “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic: Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State,” she shares her rich knowledge of the cultural and regional diversity of the state and how it has impacted the Texas culinary experience. Jessica is a contributing columnist for Texas Monthly magazine and has written other cookbooks including “The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family and Love, “Uchi: The Cookbook” and “Jack Allen’s Kitchen Cookbook.”
  • Pamela Walker of Santa Fe local farm and food activist, and author of “Growing Good Things to Eat” in Texas, has spent years researching the farming and ranching families who have been a driving force in the organic and sustainable farming food revival in Texas. Pam is a retired Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Cultures at Rice University, Houston and a former academic librarian and college English teacher.
  • Andrea DeLong-Amaya of Austin is Director of Horticulture at The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, garden columnist and teacher. She teaches classes in native plant horticulture and has contributed to many magazines, including Taunton’s Fine Gardening, Rodale’s Organic Gardening, Neil Sperry’s Gardens magazine as well as the American Public Gardens Association’s Public Garden.

Individual tickets start at $125, but consider upgrading to the patron level or a sponsorship, because there will be a sponsors/patron party earlier in the week and you know your gene pool is the patron level.

* Photo credit: Deborah Brown