Azalea Garden Tour 2005

Press Release

April 5, 2005 – Wilmington, North Carolina (NC) – The Cape Fear Garden Club announces the 52nd annual Azalea Garden Tour, to be held April 8, 9, and 10 in the beautiful coastal region of Wilmington. Eleven gardens will be featured during 2005 Tour including gardens with formal and informal landscaping, historical themes, a cottage garden, a “zeriscape” garden (low water maintenance), and one of the few landscaped cemeteries in the world.

The 2005 Azalea Garden Tour will officially open during the traditional Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Queen’s Garden Party, which will be held for the first time at beautiful and historic Airlie Gardens. The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will feature Queen Azalea LVIII and her court, along with over 100 beautiful teenage Azalea Belles dressed in authentic antebellum dresses. Local and national celebrities will also be present to celebrate this event, which is open to the public and starts at 10:00 a.m. Light refreshments will be served by the ladies of the Cape Fear Garden Club following the ceremony. The Azalea Belles, sponsored by members of the Cape Fear Garden Club, can be seen at each of the gardens during the tour, and are in high demand for many of the other official Azalea Festival events.

Tickets to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Garden Tour can be obtained through the Cape Fear Garden Club’s web site at Tickets will also be available by March 1st at area garden centers, the Azalea Festival Ticket Office, or at any of the featured gardens or Ribbon Cutting Ceremony during the actual Tour. All tickets are $15.00 and good for all three days; children under twelve are admitted free except to the Ribbon Cutting where a $1.00 fee is charged. The ticket includes a map for the self guided tour with descriptions of the history and detail of each garden. Tour guides from the Cape Fear Garden Club may be available upon request for visiting group tours and there will be a shuttle service provided for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Profits from the ticket sales are distributed by the Cape Fear Garden Club in the form of beautification and horticultural grants to the community. Funds are also used to support scholarships for students at UNC-W and Cape Fear Community College, to help finance conservation efforts at Battery Island, and for other special projects sponsored by the Club. The 2004 51st Tour netted $61,000 in profits which have been disbursed to support these projects.

The Cape Fear Garden Club is the oldest and largest garden club in North Carolina and the second largest garden club in the nation. The Azalea Garden Tour is the Club’s primary fundraiser each year and over the past 50 years, the Club has given thousands of dollars back to the community through funds generated by the Tour. Past grant recipients have included area public schools, Fort Fisher Aquarium, Bellamy Mansion, Louise Cameron Art Museum,, Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, Yahweh Center, Airlie Gardens, New Hanover County Arboretum, Battery Island Conservation, the Ability Garden, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, and many others.

The Azalea Garden Tour is an official part of the North Carolina Azalea Festival held each year in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Azalea Festival has been listed by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the top 20 tourist attractions in the Southeast and Metro Magazine listed the Azalea Garden Tour as one of North Carolina’s top ten tourist events in 2003. The Azalea Garden Tour and the lovely Azalea Belles are a highlight for those who wish to enjoy Southern hospitality and charm amidst beautiful gardens in a coastal setting. The 50 year history of the Azalea Garden Tour, the Cape Fear Garden Club, and the NC Azalea Festival is now available in a beautiful new coffee table-style book, Belles and Blooms, by local historian Susan Taylor Block. For more information, please visit the Cape Fear Garden Club’s web site: Questions concerning the tour may also be directed to Cathy Poulos, Azalea Garden Tour Publicity Chairperson at ; phone #: 910-538-5550.

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