The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.
Issue link: http://digital.smallmarketmeetings.com/i/730815
www.smallmarketmeetings.com Venue Showcase 26 By Kristy Alpert Left: Anthony Chapel welcomes guests with stunning architecture and views of the surrounding woodlands. Right: Beautiful flowerbeds fill the wooded areas around the meeting venues at Garvan Woodland Gardens. W hen Verna Cook Garvan first set foot on her family's land near Hot Springs, Arkansas, few would have guessed that the treeless landscape would become one of America's lushest woodland gardens. Garvan's family had purchased the land along the shores of Lake Hamilton in the early 1920s. It was barren because it had been used for logging. Garvan immediately fell in love with the property, but it wasn't until she inherited it from her father in 1934 that things really began to take root. Under Garvan's guidance, the grounds grew into an expansive oasis of soaring pine trees, more than 160 varieties of azaleas, and colorful local flora. Garvan hand-selected and placed each plant in its rightful spot in the garden until 1993, when she donated the more than 210 acres to the University of Arkansas' Department of Landscape Architecture through the University of Arkansas Foundation. After seven years of planning and fundraising, construction began on the gardens in 2000, and the grand opening was held on April 13, 2002. The university kept Garvan's vision for beauty and education in mind when it decided to open the garden to the public, and today the garden offers a serene perspective on the region's historic growth. Home to more than 128 species of ornamental and native shrubs and wild flowers and an expansive Asian garden, the gardens can also be a venue for meeting groups and small events in five variable meeting Photos courtesy Garvan Woodland Gardens. spaces. Indoor and outdoor spaces are available. Meeting and event spaces at Garvan Woodland Gardens are built right into the gardens, with an organic ambiance that makes them feel as though they are part of the nature that surrounds them. Impressive bridges, unique architecture and attention to detail make for a stun- ning backdrop for low-key yet spectacular events and meetings. The Gem of Hot