KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Although the event was originally scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday, April 13 & 14, forecasted inclement weather has prompted event organizers to cancel Sunday's event.
Inspired by gardens in Southern England, Caesar Stair's hilltop property that overlooks the Tennessee River will transport you to another world.
His property is one of this year's Dogwood Arts Featured Gardens.
"What it does, in a magical way that I never imagined, is that it's a very soothing, peaceful, calm, harmonious feeling when you sit here and look at this garden," Stair said.
Before his death in 2016, Atlanta landscape designer Ryan Gainey mapped out the gardens while staying with Stair and designing Lakeshore Park several years ago.
"We sat down and laid the plans out on the dining room table. He took over and said, 'this is what you need to do.' That was the beginning of it. The only credit I give myself is saying, 'ok,'" Stair recalled.
Stair's Knoxville property includes an indoor pool house that overlooks what he calls the pool garden, one of several 'garden rooms' that divide the landscape.
"This is not a garden with a lot of color. It's mostly in the layout and the feeling it evokes. At this particular time of year, I love the green that comes out in the box. I love all the different color greens, and if you look out here at the pool garden, you see the very light green of the Japanese Maples. You see a dark green with the hedges. You see where the grass is starting to turn green, which is a different shade. You see the hollies there, which are even a darker green," Stair said as he pointed to various plants.
Vicki Baumgartner oversees the trails and gardens portion of Dogwood Arts every year. She says this is one of two privately-owned gardens that will be open on April 13.
"The other garden is GATOP [God's Answer to Our Prayers], which is in East Knoxville. It is an 18-acre property. Ten of that is in gardens. He has an extensive sculpture collection and one of the most extensive conifer collections in the Southeast. It's absolutely exquisite. It's very different than this, so you get a chance to see two fantastic gardens in one weekend," Baumgartner said.
While it's free to tour the featured gardens, they encourage a five dollar donation to keep the tradition going.
"Featured Gardens are a part of our larger trails and gardens program. When people visit the gardens, they're helping to support that legacy," Baumgartner said.
A shuttle will transport guests from 5837 Lyons View Pike up the hill to Stair's home on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Stair will also be offering tours of the property throughout the day.