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

Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Reveal Party Had Loads Of Surprises And Rachel Zoe Name Dropping

With just five months to prepare their dazzling headpieces, the Maddest Hatters gathered at Tootsies on Thursday, November 17. Besides celebrating any occasion connected with the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the guests were there to learn the details for the Thursday, April 27th Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum.

Dyann Skelton, Melissa Lewis and Emilynn Wilson

Yes, the date was important because, unlike a few years back when guests shivered in near-freezing temperatures, Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis and Event Chair Linda Spina picked a date in late April when frost will be long gone. It also allows more time to prepare those hats for showing and competing.

Linda Spina and Lynn Dealey

Under The Tuscan Sun*

But the big news was the event’s theme. This news was the one that warmed the hearts and glue guns of hat designers. Drum roll. The theme for the 29th Mad Hatter’s Tea will be “Under the Tuscan Sun.” No wonder the gals picked a sun-friendly date and artist Lynn Dealey’s sunflowers artwork took full advantage of the theme.

But wait, there was still more news and it was a real head turner. Thanks to Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and the Mad Hatters brain trust, super-duper special guest will be fashion designer, author, business woman, nuclear scientist Rachel Zoe. (Okay, so maybe not that last one about the nuclear scientist, but she’s everything else and so much more.) Is anyone surprised that Mad Hatters fashion sponsor Tootsies carries Rachel’s line of fashions? Nah!

Sharla Bush and Amy Warren

While a couple of the guests (mostly guys) looked a little baffled about the younger crowd getting downright thrilled over Rachel’s participation, they’ll wise up by the big day, especially if they check out The Zoe Report.

Adding to the namedropping of the occasion, it was revealed that Amy Warren and her daughter Amanda Hill would serve as honorary co-chairs thanks to their buddy Mad Hatter’s Co-Chair/Warren buddy/McKinney shop keeper Sharla Bush.

But there was even more good news. Individual tickets are available now at $350 via the Women’s Council website. Later in the spring a limited number of tickets will be made available for $250. But who wants to wait and take a chance on missing the fashion show produced by Jan Strimple, a seated luncheon overlooking the Arboretum grounds, and being seen on the scene?

Proceeds from the event will “grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden.”

* Graphic courtesy of Lynn Dealey