Sacred Heart Cultural Center Garden Festival

Shared Stories
on December 5, 2011


Sacred Heart Garden Festival

1301 Greene Street, Augusta, Georgia

April 27 – 30, 2012


Historic Sacred Heart Cultural Center stands as a cornerstone of downtown Augusta, Georgia. In a typical year, Sacred Heart hosts travelersfrom all fifty states and numerous foreign countries,in addition to the thousands of event guests.Since 1987, the desanctified Catholic church has been home to arts organizations and an array of cultural activities, including the Richmond County Elementary School Choral Festival and the Mayor’s Masters Party, art exhibitions, holiday events, silent movies with a theater organist as well as the annual Garden Festival. Complimentary tours of the architectural masterpiece are available as well as a gift shop featuring unique items and artwork by local artisans.

Under the leadership of Emily Sheftall Cleckley, a small flower show was born in 1992, to enhance the operation and maintenance funds for Sacred Heart and to establish funding for cultural programming. The event quickly grew in size and scope and in 2000, the Sacred Heart Garden Festival emerged.

Each April, Sacred Heart Cultural Center is the location for the presentation of classic southern gardening during the Garden Festival. The mission of the Festival is to expose guests to the rich heritage of native landscapes and garden and flower design, while showcasing examples of historic preservation in the CSRA; and to offer garden exhibits and vendors, tours of private gardens and educational speakers and opportunities for all levels of garden enthusiasts’ interests. During the multiday event, the former church and grounds are transformed into a lush oasis of horticultural masterpieces featuring exhibits by professional landscape and floral designers. Numerous speakers are featured as is a Garden Market filled with unusual plant materials and distinctive home and garden accessories. Furthermore, the Tour of Gardens spotlights some of the area’s finest private gardens ranging from large landscapes to intimate spaces. Sacred Heart celebrates National Gardening Month with the Festival by inviting patrons to experience the excitement of great horticultural events.

Events that are held during the Garden Festival week include a Garden Tea and Preview Party. The Garden Tea is traditionally held the Sunday before the Festival in a lush private country garden. An afternoon tea with a nationally recognized speaker, amidst architectural and garden focal-points perfectly interrelates to remind one of the classic South. Gardens feature multiple fountains, the beautiful new foliage of Japanese Maples and rhododendron plants throughout. Guests will also be delighted by a unique millstone herb garden and an organic vegetable garden. Hand painted menus await guests at twelve perfectly set tables with crisp linens, fine china, colorful flowers and a pot of freshly brewed hot tea along with delicious treats. Hand churned butter and homemade preserves are served along with the traditional lemon curd. Each guest receives a special thank you gift from the hostess which has included in the past, homemade goat’s milk soaps and homemade fig preserves.

The evening premiere of the Sacred Heart Garden Festival is held the Thursday night prior to the public opening on Friday. The event gives patrons the first glimpse of extraordinary gardens and floral exhibits created by local landscapers and floral designers, the first opportunity to purchase unique plants and garden and home accessories in the Vendor Market and a chance to place an early bid on desirable raffle items. Great food, spirits and entertainment abound in a night under the stars at Sacred Heart Cultural Center at the Festival’s debut.

In Augusta, Georgia, each Spring, patrons make time to smell the flowers, be inspired and learn new horticultural details and techniques at the Sacred Heart Garden Festival. or


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