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Laura On: Goodwood Garden Symposium

Mon, April 10, 2017

A few weeks ago we were honored to co-host the sponsor dinner for the 15th Annual Goodwood Garden Symposium. The symposium is an annual event that presents a series of speakers to celebrate the art and design of the gardens at Tallahassee’s own Goodwood Museum and Gardens.

The Goodwood Estate is a beautiful piece of history in our community. It was founded in the 1830’s as a cotton and corn plantation residing on 2,400 beautiful acres of land. Following the Civil War, its agricultural emphasis declined, and the remaining 160 acres became an elegant private residence and gardens. The current Goodwood Estate has been beautifully restored and is open to the public as a museum.

Besides its rich history, Goodwood is near and dear to my heart for many reasons. It was the place I hosted Coton Colors retail shows in the very early days. These first shows were an incubator for testing products and working with customers. As customers made their choices, I learned about product design, what consumers were drawn to, and the invaluable skills of customer service. Many of the visitors who came to our shows lived on the grounds, nestled among the ancient gardens and the beautiful live oak trees. Hearing stories about the beauty and lifestyle of the grand estate while at these shows is something I still reminisce on today. It was also the venue where my niece Taylor was married. One of the most fun nights of our lives, as weddings often are.

This year’s symposium had two speakers, Robert Bowden, the executive director of Orlando’s Leu Gardens, and Margot Shaw, founder and editor in chief of Flower Magazine. Robert spoke about “foodscaping” or blending edibles and ornaments in your landscape while Margot Shaw discussed the history and connection between the world of flowers and design.

We hosted the sponsor dinner at the Purple Martin Outpost, a beautiful old home turned nursery under the skillful hands of our friends, and owners of the Outpost, Ed and Glen. Deciding on the Outpost as our venue for the dinner was an easy decision given the connection between the gardens of Goodwood and the nursery.

Ed and Glen are two of the most creative men I have ever met. We work together often on anything from photoshoots to collaborating on bigger celebrations, like Kyle’s New Year’s Eve wedding. After every event, I walk away with an incredible respect for their talent. Kyle often says when she encounters a creative block or becomes overwhelmed, she heads to the Outpost to clear her head and find inspiration. No matter the time, you’ll be welcomed with a breeze, the sound of great music, and you’ll find that every nook and cranny is filled with living plants presented in unusual ways.

The night hosting the Sponsor Dinner was perfect. We were nestled in the front garden surrounded by the Outpost’s beautiful plants and flowers. It looked stunning. We were treated to great food {served on some of our Azurite and Neutral Nouveau pieces}, lively bluegrass music and even better company. Take a peek at the pictures below to see the setting and some of the pieces we used for this celebration.





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