The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden presented the 11th annual “A Writer’s Garden” Literary Symposium and Luncheon “AUTHENTIC TEXAS…food and gardens” on November 2 at the Dallas Arboretum’s Rosine Hall. It is part of the Women’s Council’s 35th Anniversary Celebration.
The Honorary Chair was Nancy Bierman, founder of “A Writer’s Garden” and Past President of the Women’s Council. Co-Chairs were Kay weeks and Susan Adzick. Melissa Lewis is the Women’s Council President.
Dorothea Meltzer served as the program chair and provided a stellar line up for the literary symposium. Kathleen Cunningham was the Emcee for the event, keeping everyone on schedule.
Giana dePaul and Julia Grace provided a lovely display of silent auction items including things for home, garden, fashion and entertaining.
Sponsors for the event were Dallas law firm Geary, Porter & Donovan (third year of sponsorship), Hilton Dallas/Park Cities, Worth New York, and Edible Dallas & Fort Worth.
The guests heard engaging stories from authors and writers showcasing the cultural influences that shaped the distinct styles of Texas food, heartfelt stories about farming and ranching families in the forefront of the organic food movement, and personal experiences celebrating the value of using native plants and flowers in the planned landscape.
Pamela Walker shared the struggles of local farmers barely make a living and revealed stark figures of why buying locally is so important. She is from Santa Fe, NM and is a local farm and food activist, and author of Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers across the State.
“By selling wholesale to national distributors, farmers make only 17 cents on every dollar spent on food in the stores,” she said. “By selling local, they can make 86 cents per dollar directly. When these dollars are spent locally, it greatly boosts the economies of the communities with 48% going back into economies instead of 14% for nationally distributed products.”
Jessica Dupuy from Austin, TX is a well-known columnist for Texas Monthly and author of United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State. A local chef Tyson Cole encouraged her to help him write a cookbook, Uchi: The Cook Book which was highly successful. She received a call about doing a cookbook a for the infamous Salt Lick restaurant located in Dripping Springs, TX.
“The restaurant only has 17 recipes,” said Dupuy. “The Salt Lick Cookbook focuses on the stories from four generations which has resided on 400 acres in the Hill Country and about the strong influential women in the family.”
Also entertaining was Andrea Delong-Amaya, the Director of Horticulture from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, garden columnist and teacher.
“Lady Bird Johnson was an advocate for beautifying the nation's cities and highways and maintained that where flowers bloom, so does hope,” said Delong. “The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was informally known as Lady Bird's Bill and she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest U.S. civilian honors.”
The National Wildflower Research Center opened on Lady Bird’s 70th birthday and she died in 2007 at age 94 so she lived to the growth and impact it had on the state and for the nation.
It was perfect weather so guests enjoyed guided tours of A Tasteful Place and the Gardens after the luncheon.
For the past thirty-five years, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the development, funding, maintenance and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Dallas Arboretum. Dedicated to the universal spirit of women, it is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, built by women and funded by the efforts of women. The support of over 550 members of the non-profit, all volunteer Women’s Council makes possible the continued improvement and expansion of A Woman’s Garden.
Photos by Chuck Clark