GOTHA Raising money is critical to keep Nehrling Gardens running smoothly, but this year the nonprofit organization has a new goal in mind.
Its leaders want to restore the historic Nehrling house that sits on the property.
So for this year’s annual Corks, Caladiums and Canvases fundraising event, the organization is earmarking the money that they raise from the event to go toward its restoration project.
“It’s really critical we get the money to help with that,” said Angela Withers, president of the Nehrling Gardens.
The organization is planning to apply for a matching grant, which requires it to raise $25,000 to fund the restoration of the house. They’ve been saving for several months now but is still shy of that $25,000 mark.
The house is in desperate need of a facelife, Withers said, including new paint, roof repairs and the replacement of several decaying siding boards. But because it’s a historic landmark, the restoration process must be done carefully.
“It’s a Florida Heritage Landmark, which means we have to do things the right way,” Withers said.
This year’s Corks, Caladiums and Canvases will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 at the gardens - one of the best times of day to visit the gardens, Withers said.
“It’s always so pretty here in the late afternoon,” Withers said. “It’s so special.”
Attendees will be able to walk through the gardens while sampling wines and themed foods from various parts of the world. Each themed section will correlate to various plant-life in the gardens. For example, Asian food will be featured by the bamboo.
In addition to the food and drink, art will also be featured at the event. Several artists will be at work throughout the gardens and several original art pieces will be available for purchase. One of the featured artists is Helen Avalon, who won second place for her artwork at the Windermere Art Affair earlier this year.
Attendees will also be able to see a new art installment in the gardens. In the middle of the gardens behind the Nehrling house sits a tree limb carved with a variety of animals, including an alligator, turtle and several birds, by chainsaw artist Sam Knowles. The piece was completed just in time for the annual event, Withers said.
The event will also give attendees the chance to see the variety of improvements that have been done to the gardens, Withers said, including the addition of more trails and plants.
“We’re bringing the rural community, family vibe to the gardens,” said Caroline Chomantics, one of the garden’s caretakers. “We bring the rural-ness back.”
And everything at Nehrling Gardens revolves around maintaining the legacy of Henry Nehrling, Withers said.
“A lot of what we grow here is because of him,” she said.
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].