Garden fundraiser benefits symphony

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2011

By Susan Shinn
For The Salisbury Post
Busy, buzzing bees and cheery, chirping birds served as the musicians Saturday for the annual Festival of Summer Gardens, sponsored by the Salisbury-Rowan Symphony Guild.
The event continues 1-5 p.m. this afternoon.
Saturday’s weather was sunny and warm but not unbearable as guests strolled the garden of Jean McCoy and Rick Travis, 505 Steeplechase Trail.
The couple’s hospitality was warm, too.
“Welcome to my garden,” McCoy said enthusiastically, over and over, as she greeted folks.
The couple’s 3-acre property is dotted with multiple flower gardens that are blooming in riots of color. McCoy pointed out hot pink zinnias, purple coneflowers, yellow black-eyed Susans and more. Fragrant stargazer lilies loomed above guests’ heads, as did striking Tropicana orange-colored canna lilies.
“You name it, I got it,” she said.
McCoy plucked some bronze fennel to demonstrate how the plant gives off a licorice smell. Swallowtail butterflies love the plant, she said.
McCoy spends time in her garden every day.
“I’d rather do this than housework,” she said.
“I love it out here,” said Dr. Bethany Sinnott, one of the tour organizers. “This whole place is amazing.”
McCoy is also generous enough to open her garden for other fundraisers, allowing people to come with buckets and scissors to take home their own bouquets. One docent said McCoy has raised thousands of dollars this way for local charities.
The next event is set for 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday, July 9, for Friends in Need Animal Rescue. A Faithful Friends fundraiser is slated from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 23.
The McCoy and Travis garden offered plenty of room for guests to stroll around. Many patrons, Sinnott said, bought advance tickets. One location had 75 visitors by 11 a.m. Saturday, she noted.
The summer temperatures brought out many women, the vast majority of whom were wearing hats. Sunscreen and bug spray were also smart accessories.
Bumblebees especially adored some deep purple flowers. No wonder – it was bee balm, according to McCoy. She’d also planted a now enormous butterfly bush, which has drawn monarchs, she said.
Meanwhile, over at Carolina Lily a few miles away, 1375 Kern Carlton Road, members of the Salisbury-Rowan Quilters’ Guild were having their own bee. Well, maybe not technically, but seven members were spending the afternoon under the expansive shade trees, working away on various quilting projects.
Behind them, a number of quilts were strung on a clothesline, their beautiful colors giving the surrounding flowers a run for their money.
LuAnn Evans was working on appliquéing quilt blocks of the flowers of Hawaii.
According to her pattern book, there were to be 20 in all. She said that was a distinct possibility.
The Carolina Lily staff members were busy as bees throughout the day as well.
Mandi Sweet said that the crowd had been consistent all day. They had two full lunch seatings, at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Today’s ticket prices are $15. Presenting sponsors are Cloninger Ford-Toyota-Scion and The Perfect Rose.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.
Salisbury tour stops:
• Barbara and Cliff Sorel, 603 S. Fulton St.
• Ed and Susan Norvell, 128 S. Fulton St.
• Betty and Jim Carli, 419 S. Ellis St.
Woodleaf tour stops:
• Grover and Millie Ward, 2840 Gheen Road
• Ann and Sam Meredith, 2542 Enon Church Road
Forest Glen tour stops  (off N.C. Highway 150):
• Robert Myers and Jack Page, 302 E. Glenview Drive
• Renu and Yadi Bale, 414 W. Glenview Drive.