Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s Our Secret Garden Fall Meeting Featured Marta McDowell Unearthing the Secret Garden

(Featured photo:  Joanie Stephens, chair; Marta McDowell, featured speaker; Karen Sargent, President, Women’s Council; Colby Baer, chair; Cindy Large, chair.)

It is always a lovely, fun and interesting day to join the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden at their September meeting which features a wonderful speaker and updates followed by a delicious luncheon, and this year’s gathering did not disappoint.       

Fall Meeting chairs Colby Baer, Cindy Large and Joanie Stephens, along with the Vice President of Programs, Brenda Brown, greeted new and returning members and their guests at the Dallas Arboretum’s Rosine Hall as they enjoyed refreshments and an array of breakfast muffins and treats, catching up on news after the summer break.     

Brenda Brown, Pam Davis, Susan Robb, Elizabeth Cross, Carol Lee Downs

Karen Sargent, Women’s Council president, began by welcoming everyone saying that today’s theme Our Secret Garden is perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to A Woman’s Garden and and her goal to bring awareness of the role of the Women’s Council in supporting and maintaining A Woman’s Garden, a principal garden of the Arboretum. She recognized Warren Johnson, landscape architect, who has been involved with A Woman’s Garden since the beginning, for over 25 years.  Working with landscape architect Morgan Wheelock in its original design and construction, he continues to be involved with the Dallas Arboretum and A Woman’s Garden today.      

After the treasurer’s report by Karen Keith, Mary Ellen Winborn, VP Membership, announced there are 577 current members, including 116 new members who will be celebrated at the New Member Party chaired by Claire Catrino, also VP Membership.

Samantha Pryor-Miller, Shirley Zwinggi, Pepsi Windland, Michelle Mew, Fall Birthday Party Chair.

Reports were given by Fall Birthday Party chair Michelle Mew, Fall Volunteer Day chair Susan Banks, and Educational Trips chair Nancy Connor, who gave an overview of the fabulous gardens and private tours featured in the next trip to Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia.   

Mari Epperson and Sharon Ballew, chairs of A Writer’s Garden Symposium and Luncheon happening on Tuesday, November 7th at Rosine Hall, announced the theme Homes, Hospitality & Heavenly Gardens. Featured speakers are Kate Markert, Executive Director of the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, speaking on A Garden for All Seasons about the exquisite Washington D.C. garden of businesswoman, socialite, and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post and Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen, international designers based in London, speaking on An Entertaining Life: Designing Town & Country. Honorary chairs are Ann Barbier-Mueller, her daughter, Niña Tollett, and daughters-in-law Bridget Barbier-Mueller and Katelyn Barbier-Mueller. The Patron Party will be hosted by the Hotel Swexan and Ann Barbier-Mueller as presenting sponsor.

Marta McDowell, New York Times best-selling author of many books, in the presentation of her book Unearthing the Secret Garden, shared how the garden of author Frances Hodgson Burnett inspired  and influenced the writing of her classic children’s book, The Secret Garden.   Marta’s delightful and insightful slideshow and narrative gave a behind-the-scenes look at Burnett’s colorful life, family and dedication to gardens. Marta said to be sure to keep an eye out for her new book Gardening Can Be Murder, about garden themes in murder mysteries.   

It was all topped off with a delicious luncheon of creamy julienne radish soup and salad Niçoise with salmon and assorted vegetables. Desserts were Gil’s lemon crème brulée with berries and molten chocolate lava cake with Bing cherry sauce.  Each guest received a blooming dianthus plant as a favor.

Learn more about the Women’s Council and membership benefits at www.wcdabg.org

ABOUT THE WOMEN’S COUNCIL: Celebrating its 41st Anniversary.
Since 1982 the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, a principal garden at the Dallas Arboretum. A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the United States conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women. Celebrating its 41st year, the support of over 500 members of the Women’s Council makes possible the continued expansion and development of A Woman’s Garden. The Women’s Council is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  www.wcdabg.org

ABOUT A WOMAN’S GARDEN: Celebrating its 26th Anniversary.
A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived, constructed and maintained by the funding efforts of women. Ablaze with color in every season, A Woman’s Garden sits majestically as a living testament to the passion and vision of the Women’s Council founders and the boundless energy and devotion of its members whose commitment to creating a garden dedicated to the universal spirit of women across generations is realized in its inspired design. Our beautiful garden celebrates the power, creativity, resourcefulness, passion and unwavering commitment of the women who came before us and those entrusted with its care now, and into the future.

*Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for this special event and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene.)


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.