Despite tonight’s threats of torrential storms, primary election results coming in and the Dallas Mavs shooting for a miracle win against the Golden State Warriors, Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Sarah Jo Hardin was not going to be dissuaded from announcing the big plans for the Council’s multi-anniversary celebrations ahead.
She made the announcements to a private reception at the Angelika Theater at Mockingbird Station, and with good reason. But more about that later.
Serving as an umbrella for the Council’s entire 40th anniversary year, Sarah has designated it as “Growing Friendships for 40 years.”
Highlighting the year will be two celebrations taking place the week of October 17 — “A Noble Celebration” — at the Arboretum.
And what better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary than with a Ruby Red Gala that will take place on Friday, October 21. In addition to a champagne reception, there’ll be a seated dinner with wine pairings and entertainment provided by Emerald City Presents Limelight.
Joining Chair Sharon Ballew will be Honorary Co-Chairs Drs. Linda Burk and John R. Gilmore and Event Advisors Barbara Bigham, Carole Ann Brown, Linda Spina, Susan Scullin and Venise Stuart.
The other event will take place just a few days before, on Tuesday, October 18. Known as A Writer’s Garden, this annual fundraiser is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Council’s main project, A Woman’s Garden. The theme will be “Tales from Highclere Castle.”
Hmm, Highclere Castle? Isn’t that the legendary castle in Hampshire, England, where “Downton Abbey” has been filmed since 2010? Yes, it’s actually the 5,000-acre home-sweet-home with its magnificent grounds of Lord and Lady Carnarvon. In fact, Sarah and A Writer’s Garden Co-Chairs Therese Rourk and Dyann Skelton have arranged to have The Right Honorable Countess of Carnarvon come across the pond to be the guest speaker for the Garden.
While she couldn’t attend tonight’s event, Lady Carnarvon sent a video message telling guests how much she was looking forward to the event and visiting the Arboretum grounds. In the video, she shared that only two families have owned Highclere Castle since 1679.
And given the emphasis A Writer’s Garden places on having an author as its featured speaker, Lady Carnarvon fits the bill as a best-selling author of five books. Her latest one, “Seasons at Highclere,” “concentrates on how the estate and gardens have grown and supplied produce to its community over hundreds of years.”
Her next project is a biography of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, “which describes his discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen with Howard Carter.”
Starting Wednesday, June 1, tickets will be available starting at $500 for each celebration — A Writer’s Garden and Ruby Red Gala — with various sponsorships ranging from $2,500 to presenting sponsorships going for $50,000.
For A Writer’s Garden and Ruby Red Gala patrons, there will be “A Noble Celebration Exclusive” with Lady Carnarvon as guest of honor.
* Photo provided by Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum ** Photo credit: Adam Hillier Photography