Surely you're already suspecting that the Azalea Festival is nigh-whether you've seen it with your eyes or felt it in your sinuses. This weekend is indeed the 70th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival, and the Azalea Garden Tour kicks off on Friday, April 7th with the Ribbon Cutting and Queen's Garden Party, complete with Azalea Belles, horse-drawn carriages, the Queen herself, and dozens of cookies.
The Garden Tour is a creation of Cape Fear Garden Club; this is its biggest fundraiser of the year. The Garden Club uses the money raised to support its Grant Program for beautification, conservation, and education in New Hanover County.
This year, the tour holds the ribbon cutting at a home (instead of Greenfield Lake) and includes informational talks by garden professionals: Aimee Coker of Encore Azalea/Southern Living Plant Collection; George Hartner of Outdoor Illumination; Tracy McCullen of Signature Gardens & Pools; and Drew Thorndyke of Cape Fear Water Gardens. Find the speaker schedule here. Find a preview of all 12 gardens here. Tickets and pamphlets for the tour are available at many locations in and around Wilmington.