Gardens Uncorked! touches on all senses

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 113 views 

BENTONVILLE — The recent Gardens Uncorked! event began on the cusp of sunset in the Compton Gardens and Convention Center, just as the heat of the day was wearing off.

Leading to the complex, the trees seemed to get larger and larger, closer and closer together, until the view became thick with green.

Guests mingled at the conference center, where they picked up registration tickets and a wine glass by Libbey Glass, then took a leisurely tour of the Crystal Bridges and Downtown Bentonville trail. Trained volunteers stood waiting to give tours of the 300 species of plants and trees that live within the gardens. They also escorted guests to each of the three refreshment stations along the way.

Jeff Snyder, treasurer of the Compton Gardens board of directors, and his wife, Debbie, thoroughly enjoyed the festivities.

“This is like going down to Devil’s Den to hike without having to sweat,” Jeff said. “I leave here looking forward to next year.”

“We came last year and it was just so lovely, we had to come back,” Debbie added.

Walking down the trails, the green become a patchwork quilt, each shade sporadically backed by sunlight or multiple layers of plants, made into a unique sum of color.

At station one, apothic red and apothic white wines awaited on the slow and winding path through The Meadow. A ring of trees guides you through scores of flowers, grass and bushes. Several of the plants are known to strongly attract butterflies, which tend to take over the place in the daylight. The belles of the ball here are the white foxglove and purple beards thumb, whose bright colors wildly set them apart.

Station two is but a pleasant stroll down the Bentonville City Trail, shrouded by moths and lit by tea candles in the fleeting twilight. At the trail’s connection to the Compton Trail, there’s a spread of hors d’oeuvres, blueberry brie, zinfandel wine and riesling.

Volunteers lead guests past the springs, explaining that it was traditional for the first American pioneers to name the springs after their family, by using their last name. What makes this springs unique is that the pioneer that named it was named Springs. So rather than having a “Spring Springs” it was named otherwise.

A family of red-tailed hawks lives in a tree in the gardens, and visitors can easily spot them from the trail.

By the time you reach station three, music by a live jazz duo is floating from the conference center patio, More wines await: cabernet or pinot grigio. A quick sip of sparkling wine preludes the raffle drawing for full bottles of selected wines.

For the finale, guests dined on mini beef wellingtons, chicken cannoli with smoked gouda, lemon spinach balls with water chestnuts and asparagus marinated in balsamic-basil.

Dessert was chocolate delights, cherry cannolis, mojito key lime pastry bites and chocolate cups filled with red wine and topped with freshly picked mint leaves.

Find out more about the Compton Gardens and Conference Center here,