Garden tour highlights Art Center’s season

Jessica Klarp
Special to The Black Mountain News

Tracy Munn started working on her garden mere days after being asked to be part of last year’s Art in Bloom Cottage Garden tour.

“I worked for months,” she said. “I worked until the week before the tour when I called in reinforcements. Friends and family pitched in moving mulch and pulling weeds to make it look perfect. It was a great experience.”

Only a true gardener could look at months of hard labor as a good experience. But Black Mountain is teeming with them and their beautiful homes and wonderful gardens. Five of them were selected by the volunteer committee at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts for the 11th annual Art in Bloom from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 16-17.

Tickets are $20 and available on the day of the tour at the arts center, 225 W. State St., Black Mountain. Ticket holders will pick up a map to the gardens and drive to each of them.

The garden tour ticket comes with discounts to five local restaurants so that ticket holders can stop at one of the local restaurants for lunch. Participants can wind up their day back at the arts center to view floral arrangements in the gallery.

Art in Bloom is a multi-day, multi-faceted event that includes a gala dinner on Thursday, June 15 to celebrate the 22 floral designers who have created arrangements inspired by art on loan from regional galleries.

On this year’s garden tour is The Arbor House Bed and Breakfast. Business owners Teresa and Jim Fuller have been working “furiously” on their generous property on Lake Tomahawk for the last six weeks, they said. The Fullers bought the property in 2015 and have been spending so much time making improvements and running their business that they haven’t had many social opportunities.

“We look forward to the chance to meet so many of the people we see passing our home,” Teresa said. “We want them to stand on our deck and see the breathtaking view, to admire the 100 varieties of plants on the property, to take the plant maps we have made of the different sections and enjoy this as much as we do.”

Hundreds of volunteers help make this element of Art in Bloom a success - from the homeowners who lend their gardens, to the garden guides who facilitate the guests, to the plein air painters who paint in each garden, to the restaurants who agree to give guests discounts, to the committee members who organize all of the elements.

Garden owner Andy White has been enjoying the experience. He and his wife Marsha have had their garden on the tour twice, in 2015 and 2008. “Our favorite part, aside from meeting so many people and visiting with old friends, is having the garden guides and plein air painters in the garden,” he said. “It is really fun watching the talented painters and seeing their work develop over the course of a few hours.”

There will be more than 20 plein air painters and an equal number of garden guides positioned in each garden over the course of the two days.

Laurie Morgan and her sister Meredith Greene have volunteered to be garden guides for the past four years. This year they enlisted their cousins to help as well. “It’s just so much fun,” Morgan said. “Everyone is in a good mood. You get to spend time in incredible gardens, and it’s a great chance to meet people. It’s the best of Black Mountain.”

Art in Bloom is the nonprofit Black Mountain Center for the Arts most important fundraiser and most involved event of the year. Tickets to the gala are $50. Gallery access to view the floral arrangements is $5. More information about Art in Bloom and the Black Mountain Center for the Arts offerings is at or 669-0930.