Over 100 guests enjoyed New Albany Garden Club’s May Day Tea

NEMiss.News Performing the maypole dance



The New Albany Garden Club marked the time between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice with a May Day Tea on Saturday, May 6th. Elizabeth Coombs and Retta Hardy, co-chairs of the garden club’s Ways and Means committee created a detailed plan that put in motion a day of celebration and education.

“We chose to host a tea because it was a fun opportunity for ladies and girls of all ages to celebrate spring,” said Elizabeth Coombs. She added, “We were able to plan educational activities about gardening, flowers, butterflies, and etiquette as well.”

May Day tradition calls for people to ”bring in the May” by gathering wildflowers and green branches and club members and associates obliged by bringing peonies, roses, iris, hydrangeas, daisies, and greenery which the event’s flower committee used to create arrangements for the entry doors and tables throughout the space.

NEMiss.News NA Garden Club May Day

Tables set and decorated for Tea

Over one hundred ladies and girls, dressed in spring outfits, some with fascinators, hats, and gloves, were greeted at First Baptist’s Family Life Center with tables covered in floor length tablecloths, layered with toppers and tulle and set with colorful arrangements, fine china sets of cups, saucers, creamers, and bowls stocked with sugar cubes. Every space was set up with special activities; photo stations, a caterpillar observation station, spring coloring pages, croquet, ribbons for dancing, and a 15-foot-tall maypole adorned with flowers and a rainbow of floor length satin ribbons.

Tracy Vainisi, outgoing club president, welcomed the guests and commented on the event being a perfect way to celebrate the end of her time as club president and thanked all of the club members and associates for the amazing work they had done. She commented, also, that while it was Coronation Day for King Charles and Derby Day in Kentucky, those events had nothing on The New Albany Garden Club’s May Day Tea in the city that Southern Living had named The Best Southern Small Town.

Vainisi introduced Kenidi Sanders, Miss New Albany, who led a lesson of tea etiquette. As she spoke, guests enjoyed a variety of teas and tiered serving trays full of finger sandwiches, scones with cream and preserves, and mini desserts as one would find while enjoying high tea.

Kelly Coltharp, club associate member, Baileytown Farm owner, and author of MATERS MATTER FROM A to Z, discussed that May Day celebrates a season of new growth and is a time for people to gather together and celebrate with singing, dancing, and sharing baskets of flowers. Following the lesson, girls lined up with paper doilies rolled into cones and filled them with mint, red clover, jonquils, baby’s breath, and spirea.

New Albany dance instructor Megan Jones brought students that she currently teaches at New Albany’s Performing Arts Center who welcomed spring with an official dance around the maypole to the music of The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

NEMiss.News Butterfly release at May Day Tea

75 five Painted Lady butterflies were released

The finale of the May Day Tea was a butterfly release. Sherra Owen, a New Albany Garden Club member since 1978 who is passionate about the education of native plants, read Eric Carle’s THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR and followed with a discussion about pollinator plants that are vital to the survival of butterflies. Cassie Henson, who takes over as club President in September, organized the butterfly release shared, “Seventy-five Painted Lady butterflies were released by participating girls and ladies who chose to honor or release in memory of someone special.”

The objectives of the New Albany Garden Club is to further the interests of gardening, conservation, and beautification. Members volunteer in activities and projects throughout the community such as maintenance of The Faulkner Literary Garden at The Union County Heritage Museum, garden therapy activities at New Haven Center, and The Park Along the River Arboretum. They also support endeavors throughout the state such as the Blue Star Memorial, Governor’s Mansion Garden, and Lanoux Youth Nature Day Camp.

New Albany Garden Club’s May Day Tea



—Tracy Vainisi



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