Friday, July 17, 2009

Gimlets in the Garden set for weekend

Botanical Garden benefit is a garden delight

Express Staff Writer

Sawtooth Botanical Garden patrons enjoy the Gimlets in the Garden benefit. Photo by

Summer in the Wood River Valley means hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing and lots of outdoor time. Another special summer perk to living in the region is the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. Celebrating the only public garden in southeastern Idaho, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden will holds its second annual benefit celebration, Gimlets in the Garden, on Saturday, July 18, at 6 p.m.

"It was a very successful event last year," said Executive Director Jennifer Colson. "People enjoyed it because it was unique."

Since 1995 the Sawtooth Botanical Garden has offered a wide array of programs for adults and children on topics in the fields of horticulture, landscape design, ecology, botany, organic gardening and more. The garden has an average of 400 members that contribute and participate in the organization's annual endeavors, and the garden attracts over a thousand garden visitors annually who use for both learning and relaxation.

"For years the garden did a formal sit-down dinner with an auction," Colson said. "We wanted to put a new spin on the event. It is a unique event to the valley in terms of fundraising benefits because we can have it in the garden in our own venue and welcome patrons to experience the garden."

Gimlets in the Garden will feature heavy hors d'oeuvres by Ciro, which include beef tenderloin skewers with fresh thyme, tuna ceviche with lemon balm, stuffed mushrooms with sausage and fresh oregano, and stuffed baby new potatoes with fresh chives. Cocktails will include the signature drink, the gimlet, garnished with fresh mint from the garden. Dancing will be to music by Kevin Kirk and Onomatopoeia and Sally Tibbs as well as a live and silent auction.

Silent auction items include a private floral arranging class by florist Sue Bridgeman, adventure activity packages including whitewater rafting with White Otter Outdoor Adventures and fly-fishing classes with Ketchum on the Fly. There will be dining packages from several valley restaurants as well as getaway trips to private homes across the Northwest and sculpture, artwork, wine collections and special-event tickets.

The live auction features a five-course catered dinner for eight in your home by CK's with wine from Dayle Fowler's cellar and a weeklong stay at a "green" cabin in Winthrop, Wash., on the edge of a Nordic ski trail and across a meadow from the Methow River with views of Goat Wall. Other items include a Harold Fienstein photograph donated by Anne Reed Gallery and a painting by Abbey Grovesnor donated by Gilman Contemporary Gallery.

"We hope to have 200 people this year and want the event to grow every year," Colson said. "This is my last event at the garden, and I want everyone to show up and have a good time."

Walk-ins are welcome and tickets are $75. The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is located on the corner of state Highway 75 and Gimlet Road. Advance reservations may be made by calling 726-9358.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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