The History of Tallahassee’s Annual Garden Party

by Keasi Smith

Tradition and community are important to Tallahasseeans, which might explain why an annual Spring Garden Party has remained such a beloved event that residents look forward to each year. First hosted in 1981 at Forest Meadows, the event has always benefitted those fighting cancer in our community, with the past two years’ proceeds going to music therapy for patients going through chemotherapy treatments at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Cancer Center. Given that every garden party needs a garden, it’s lucky Tallahassee has no shortage of beautiful homes or those willing to open their backyards to the public. This year’s hosts were Jay and Bri Smith, whose lovely home in the Rosehill neighborhood includes a beautiful backyard overlooking Lake Elizabeth. “Everyone has been so generous about opening up their homes,” said Louise Davenport, who has been on the Garden Party committee for many years. “It’s heartwarming to see the community come together for this wonderful cause.”

Support also comes from business owners throughout Tallahassee who are more than willing to offer goods and services. A very large flower arrangement was provided by Hurtis of Espositos, which included hydrangeas, a flower embedded in the memory of every Tallahassee local and whose presence brings Southern elegance to any bouquet. This year’s catering was provided by Southern Bleu. On the menu were lightly fried grouper and shrimp. In addition, there were pork sliders and stuffed mushrooms prepared with pork and sausage donated by Bradley’s Country Store. Desserts were courtesy of the The Cake Shop, and the wine was donated by Hill Spooner & Elliott Real Estate. A rendering of the Smiths’ home was drawn by the talented Audrey Peaty and was given as a gift to the hosts. Framing was provided by Signature Art Gallery.