A Nostalgic Return
Cape Fear Garden Club’s 2023 Azalea Garden Tour kicks off in the same garden where it began 70 years ago.
The ribbon-cutting kickoff for the Cape Fear Garden Club’s 2023 Azalea Garden Tour on April 14 will be held in its original 1953 ribbon-cutting location: Mrs. Beth Smith’s garden at 615 Forest Hills Drive. Beth Smith’s son, Percy Smith, and his wife, Lillian Smith, will graciously open the garden for the 70th Anniversary Azalea Garden Tour from April 14 to 16 as well as the ceremonial ribbon-cutting at 9:30 am on Friday, April 14.
For the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Azalea Queen, local dignitaries, the Azalea Festival Entourage and the Azalea Ambassadors will all be in attendance. Cookies and refreshments will be served at the Queen’s Garden Party following the ceremony.
The 2023 Azalea Garden Tour has selected 13 locations to share with the general public:
Gardens #1-3 The first three gardens are in Forest Hills within walking distance of each other. Parking at Forest Hills Global Elementary school is open and suggested for the weekend.
Gardens #4 and #5 are located off Oleander Drive at Country Club Road on Blythe Road and Parham Drive.
Gardens #6 and #7 are located on Masonboro Sound Road and in Windward Oaks, including the historically significant garden of Live Oaks estate. The estate faces the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) off Hewletts Creek.
Garden #8 Of course, no Garden Tour would be complete without a visit to the magnificent Airlie Gardens. This Garden will be open on Saturday and Sunday only.
Garden #9 Frank H. Kenan Chapel, which includes the Kenan Chapel, Woods and Memorial Gardens
Gardens #10-13 The Garden Tour is excited to be back in Landfall for the first time since 2012 featuring three private residences and gardens as wells Garden #9. Buses will transport ticket holders to the Landfall locations from the parking lot adjacent to New Hanover County Public Library, Northeast location.
Azalea Ambassadors will meet and greet guests at each private garden. These young ladies and gentlemen are high school juniors and seniors in New Hanover County. Various gardens throughout the tour will include floral displays with helpful decorating ideas for entertaining in outdoor spaces. The new Tabletops and More committee is excited to share their talents with the community. Local businesses Paysage, Protocol and Heda the Table are contributing to accessorize these lovely entertaining areas.
Goldie Stetten, a 28-year resident of New Hanover county, is the Chair of the 2023 Azalea Garden Tour. She has been a member of the Cape Fear Garden Club for more than 20 years. The theme of the 2023 Tour, Nature Inspired Artistry, pays tribute to both the beauty of the gardens as well as the annual Azalea Paint Out event. Plein air artists will be present and painting in the gardens all weekend. Paintings will be available for purchase at Live Oaks estate at 7527 Masonboro Sound Road on Sunday from 10 am until 4 pm.
This year’s tour is grateful to have several sponsors. Blooms and Branches, Johnson Nursery and Stone Garden have provided garden homeowners with gift certificates and discounts. The Yacht Source and Proven Winners have contributed to two raffles, noted on the inside of the tour ticket. Kenan Chapel at Landfall has provided financial support, in addition to the use of their beautiful grounds and gardens.
Proceeds from the Azalea Garden Tour, which is the Cape Fear Garden Club’s largest fundraiser, will be given away as grants to local nonprofit organizations for beautification, conservation and educational projects in New Hanover County as well as for two endowed scholarships at UNC Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College. Since 2002, more than $1.3 million has been awarded to the local community from the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour.
Want to go?
70th Annual Azalea Garden Tour
April 14 through 16