Summer Lecture Series

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Thursdays at 10 in Dovecote’s Garden


Unique in the Cashiers Highlands Plateau, this summer a series of informal soirees are being held regularly on Thursdays at 10 In Dovecote’s Garden. This historic farmhouse, once nestled in the cornfields of Cashiers, is now ground zero for horticultural cognoscenti. The garden offices of landscape architects, Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargan, are located on McKinney Way (aka 35 Flash Point Lane) off Cashiers School Lane, 1 mile south of Crossroads on 107.

Enjoy a morning glass of herbal tea, stroll Dovecote’s two public gardens and make friends with guest speakers. Watch for our weekly schedule of in The Highlander, Cashiers Chronicle and The Laurel.

If you have a house full of guests, would you enjoy “Miniature Gardens for all Ages”,  or “Concocting Bitters for Summer Cocktails”? Have lunch at Cornucopia next door, then visit The Village Green and a garden center that afternoon.

How about big picture designs topics like “Making Flat Land on Mountain Slopes”, “Dahlias for Mountain Gardens” or “Perennials for Your Bullet-Proof Border”? Native plant lovers, please join us for “Splendid Native Shrubs Trees to Know and Grow”, plus “Mountain Hedges: Elegant Tapestries & Utilitarian Hideaways”. We’ll be field-tripping to local nurseries to uncover secret recipes.

For the home gardener, improve your home environment with “Permaculture for Mountain Landscapes”, “Turbocharge your Soil with Compost & Compost Tea” or putter with us as we set seeds for “Vegetable Gardening with Vim and Vigor”.

Most lectures are free; workshops materials have a small fee. For instance, join us for a pre-Mountains in Bloom gathering then migrate to Highlands wearing our new hats to a special champagne lecture.

Intrigued with sculpture and art in the garden? Carl Peverall places three of his atmospheric pieces at Dovecote this summer. Cashiers Plein Air Festival kicks off week of July 12. Watch early dawn artists catch the light at Dovecote and the surrounding village of cottages.

What makes the BEST of mountain gardens for you and Mother Nature? Come hear “My Magic Mix for Mountain Landscapes”. Heal the earth, one garden at a time. Rest lightly on the land and always remember that form follows function…then beautify!

cashiers map to DovecoteCashiers map to Dovecote

(click on the map to download)



Cashiers Plein Air Festival: July 17 ~ Eve Tidwell: Art Breakthrough Workshop

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July 17,  10 AM to 3:00 PM

What Now? 

Wow Now! Transforming a So-so Painting to One You Love.

By Miriam “Mir” Eve Tidwell

Optional Fee: $25 per person

limit to 20 students

Please click to download: Event PDF

This class is for beginners and intermediates who paint in Acrylic. This class is not for water color or oil.

I have been painting for about 15 years. What I know is not taught in books and most likely will show you that anyone can paint and everyone is an artist.

I paint both acrylic and wax. I sell and I donate my work.

We all have a canvas that we just don’t like. We are not sure why its not our favorite.

I will teach you how to take a “What Now” into a “Now Wow”.

Here is an example of a painting that I didn’t like but it gave me a base. Nothing stands in the way of a great painting more than a white canvas.

Some days all I do is backgrounds. Those moments of What Now, When I walk away and then come back another day and start over to discover “Wow Now” are my best paintings.

The old painting

The old painting

The painting with little detail.

The painting with little detail.

The finished painting.

The finished painting.

The example above took me about 3 hours from start to finish.

What you will need to bring to eat and drink.

We will take two 10 minute breaks and one 30 minute break.

  1. bottle of water to drink (or what ever you drink)
  2. Snack for break
  3. Sack lunch
  4. Snack to enjoy while we have show and tell.

Supplies you will need

  1. one painted canvas that will come one way and leave another. ( around two feet by three feet framed if you can) can be a board or even foam board). Must already be painted ! (If you have never painted go to the thrift store and buy a cheap canvas that is something you don’t like. You will have your own painting by the end of the day.)
  2. large black magic marker
  3. small black magic marker
  4. gold magic marker
  5. ruler
  6. blue painters tape,two to four inch to protect the frames and if they are not framed to protect the face of you painting when we paint the sides.
  7. At least 8 brushes at least one 2 inch
  8. brush holder
  9. bucket for water (Large enough to paint for an hour before cleaning)
  10. roll of paper towels


If you are a person that likes bright colors bring them if you are a person that likes dull colors this class is designed to teach you to love bright colors, So bring bright colors…..please bring your own easel, this type of class works best if you can paint standing and look at it from about 6 feet back.

  1. At least 10 colors of acrylic paint. (you can have more, but please have these.)
  2. Brown
  3. black
  4. white
  5. yellow
  6. orange
  7. red
  8. sky blue
  9. lavender
  10. greens

For more information & parking map, click here.

July 24 ~ Jodie Zahner: Floral Design Workshop

July 24 Event - Jodie Zahner
Thursday, 10 a.m. July 24

Stuck? Can’t let your intuition let you choose the flowers or cuttings to create beautiful floral arrangement? Bring your own garden bits and pieces to the workshop to use as background or accent. We will provide extra materials like oasis, tape and extra filler material. Dovecote provides a container for your creative juices to reside in! Wear your casual clothes, bring an umbrella, a friend and have great fun. Limit 12. Free. An optional fee of $25 includes vessel for arrangement and goodies.

Jodie Zahner is Chattooga Gardens floral designer, photographer and web master. She has a masters degree in horticulture from Clemson, and is a member emeritae of the Laurel Garden Club of Highlands. One of her community projects is an educational rain garden at the Highlands Performance Art Center that features native plants. She designed a magnificent landscape garden that took “Best in Show” at the 2004 Southeast Flower Show. One of her favorite projects was designing the flower borders for Headwaters Golf Course. She also loves to sing, dance and make music.

Jodie welcomes floral design commissions for weddings, home centerpieces and gifts. Her Christmas wreaths are the stuff of legends.

Jodie said, “I’ve never done a workshop before! I just let it go and flow and it comes together.”

Boy, does it come together! She has been awarded the highest honors time and time again at the Bascomb’s Mountains in Bloom. I’m personally going to be doing a vase and I am all thumbs. Hugh is the floral arranger in our family.

Chattooga Gardens, based in Cashiers, North Carolina was founded by Jodie and Jeff Zahner in 1996. Their goal was to provide plants that would thrive in our mountain climate, including many native plants, as well as the knowledge gardeners need to be successful in these special conditions.

Chattooga Gardens, Hwy 107 South, P.O. Box 1488, Cashiers, NC 28717 (828) 743-1062


SIgn Up for Jodie Zahner’s Floral Design Workshop





July 31 ~ Mary Palmer Dargan: Magic Mix

July 31-magic mix


10 a.m., Thursday, July 31

Landscape architect and author, Mary Palmer Dargan, shares her magic mix for creating timeless mountain garden designs. This special field trip explores the magic of materials unique to our vicinity.


Aug 7 ~ Bob Dews: Inspired Waterfalls and Ponds for Your Home Environment



Aug7 - bob dews

Thursday, 10 a.m. Aug. 7

Bob Dews is a master of water. Falling, spilling, cascading, dripping. He coaxes it to the highest heights, or subdues it into a still pond. He will discuss the secrets of his creations plus entertain us with anecdotal tales of waterfalls gone bonkers! Join us as we field trip to a nearby idyllic creation.

If you’ve not met Bob Dews, you are in for a treat!

He says: ” Have you ever paused by a stream or pond and found yourself entranced by the sights and sounds of water? Let’s face it, God created many things on this earth for our pleasure, but nothing beats the therapeutic qualities of water. The primary contribution to this pleasure is the overwhelming stimulation to the senses that water provides. Visually, we are stimulated by the reflections, ripples, splashes, and droplets. Acoustically, we hear the different rhythms and tones created by water. Finally, our curiosity is stirred by the plants and animals that live in and around water. Water is the essential element needed to sustain life; therefore we are inspired by it.”

His company, Xstream Ponds in Cashiers, North Carolina excels in the elements needed to design and build natural looking water features.

For more information, see:

Sign Up for the Bob Dews Event





Aug. 14 : Design a Showhouse Garden


Aug 14-Showhouse Event

 10 a.m., Thursday Aug. 14

How to transform the mundane into the magnificent? Join us and pitch in to help make The Cashiers Decorator Showhouse: Hilliard House into a garden gem. Just call Mary Palmer at 828-743-0307 to reserve your spot, and bring your gloves, a shovel and creative juices. Meet at 10 am at Dovecote. We will work on and off this weekend to be finished by Aug 19…3 sculptures, a waterfall and pretty flower garden. Come one come all!!!

Sign Up 





August 21 ~ Mystery Guest Mixologist: Bitters Making

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Aug. 21 (Thursday, 10 a.m.)   

Bitters making reaches far back into the Egyptian era. It is an alcoholic preparation is flavored with spices, roasted seeds or aromatic twigs that impart a bitter or bittersweet flavor. Once a patent medicine, this concoction may be added to lemonade, vodka, water and fancy cocktails. Angostura Bitters, popular on grocery store shelves, hail from Venezuela and were created in 1824 as a cure for sea sickness and other stomach maladies.

In our workshop, a variety of techniques will be used as our Mystery Guest Mixologist shares favorite recipes. Bring your small bottle to take home samples!

Sign Up






August 28 ~ Start your Vegetable Seeds for a Successful Fall Garden

Aug29 Event - Fall vegetable seeds

Aug. 28 Thursday, 10 a.m.  

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Sept 6 ~ Recipes for YOUR Landscape Success

Saturday, Sept 6

Stay TUNED for our SPECIAL EVENT! Fall Garden Sizzle & Pow! Recipes for YOUR Landscape Success


Why are we doing this lecture series? Hugh and I moved to Dovecote from Highcote in High Hampton after 15 years and spent 2013 renovating and building these new gardens. Now, we are celebrating!

For more information please contact: Dovecote Garden Porch or call 828-743-0307.