Rock City's Southern Blooms Festival Is May 3-5

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guest speakers, food, music, art and garden tours full of beautiful blooms are showcased in an “all things southern” event at Rock City Gardens May 3-5, the Southern Blooms Festival. This 5th annual event running daily from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. honors Rock City’s original gardener, Frieda Utermoehlen Carter.

This year’s Southern Blooms features southern chef, writer and TV personality, Virginia Willis, to share some cooking secrets and fun tips during a workshop on Saturday. Some of her recipes are also being served at Rock City’s new outdoor restaurant Café 7 during the event, including a special menu item featuring moon pies.  Ms. Willis is author of Bon Appetit, Y’all! and is the former kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living Television.

Other speakers during the weekend include Andy Offutt Irwin, speaking on Sunday and Felder Rushing speaking on Friday. Mr. Irwin is a southern storyteller, writer, musician and recent winner of the “Storytelling World Award” for his latest cd Risk Assessment. Rushing is the founder of the “Slow Gardening” movement and has authored several books. All speakers are available for meet-and-greets and book signings after their workshops.

Morning group tours of Rock City Gardens are being offered daily at 9 a.m., led by Rock City’s Director of Horticulture George Schimpf and Chattanooga’s Master Gardeners (limited space available). Coca-Cola is also sponsoring a “Build-Your-Own Rain Barrel” workshop each day. Check out the full event schedule with specific times at and come back for free by purchasing an annual pass.

As Rock City continues its community partnerships with each special event and festival, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank is a featured community partner during Southern Blooms. They are also leading an interactive make-and-take “Create your own Pizza Garden” workshop daily. 

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