Historic Montford Garden Tour returns

Press release from Montford Neighborhood Association:

After a 17-year absence, the Historic Montford Garden Tour returns to Asheville on Saturday, June 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Montford Neighborhood Association announced today.

A regional favorite, this year’s event features 12 gardens with a variety of distinct landscapes that grace some homes more than 120 years old and others more recently built.  The all-day tour also includes some of the area’s most coveted musicians, who will play a range of bluegrass, jazz, folk and classical styles in live two-hour concerts in various gardens.

Tickets, priced at $25, are on sale now online at the event’s website, https://montford.org/garden-tour/, and also available in-person (cash or check only) at the Asheville Visitor Center, 36 Montford Ave., beginning May 21 until sold out.  Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.  Proceeds raised will help fund community initiatives in Montford.

Music is a big part of the Montford and Asheville culture, so adding local musicians to the mix was only appropriate.  Playing at varying times throughout the day on the porches, decks and patios of many of the gardens on the tour, the all-star lineup includes:

  • Local legend Kat Williams, whose extraordinary singing repertoire ranges from jazz, blues, Motown, R&B and pop
  • Vocalist and harmonica player Kip Veno and guitarist/vocalist Erich Hubner of always-fun Pleasure Chest
  • The Asheville Music School’s Fiddle Squad, a gifted group of music students of various ages.
  • Master fiddler Liam Thomas Bailey, a Berklee College of Music graduate and singer/founder of the Americana/World band, Two Bird Stone.  Bailey will also play banjo
  • The Cafe´ String Quartet, which performs primarily classical music.
  • Singer-songwriter Emily Martin with Wilder Lore, who plays lap steel, flute, guitar and sings harmonies
  • In Flight, as guitar-and-piano duo featuring Bryce Robertson and Ian Taylor
  • Guitarist John Logue, a jazz, classical and country music veteran
  • Pianist Jason DeCristofaro and bassist Kevin Kehrberg, both faculty members of Warren Wilson College who play jazz classics and tunes from the American Songbook
  • Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kylie Irvin, a jazz and folk specialist
  • MAR, an instructor at the Asheville Music School and folk acoustic guitarist from Peru with a wide repertoire
  • Cat Dragons, composed of Don Lewis (Sons of Ralph), Craig Kellberg (Firecracker Jazz Band) and Ben Scales, director of the Montford Music and Arts Festival

In addition, a silent auction will be held for a commemorative oil painting by Montford resident Mandy Kjellstrom at the artist’s own garden.  Kjellstrom, who has studied painting with Chris DiDomezio while living in Atlanta and taken painting trips to France and the Scottish island of Iona, continues to hone her skills with guidance from leading NC landscape artist, John Mac Kah.

Her original framed 18 by 24-inch oil painting, entitled June in Montford, will be available for silent auction on her front porch during the Garden Tour.  Commemorative note cards and posters featuring a reproduction of the painting will also be available in May for purchase on the tour website and the Asheville Visitor Center.

Community-minded business who are underwriting this year’s Garden Tour include garden sponsors Gretchen Lewis of Town and Mountain Realty, The Broadway and Caley Bowman of My Mosaic Realty; musician sponsors Bionic Man Painting Co. and Frugal Framer; promotional sponsors Lili and Joe Breiter of Beverly-Hanks Realtors, Jesse Israel & Sons Nursery & Garden Center, writer Nan K. Chase, Gardenology, Mantis Gardens, Susan Rhew Design, Reems Creek Nursery, Carol L. King & Associates; media sponsors Blue Ridge Public Radio and Montford & North Asheville Neighbors; and artist sponsor Mandy Kjellstrom.

On the day of the tour, attendees must bring confirmation of their purchase to the Asheville Visitor Center to pick up a tour guide that will also serve as your ticket to enter the gardens.  Check-in at the Visitor Center will begin at 9:30 a.m.  All patrons are required to follow COVID public health protocol, including wearing a mask and maintaining six-feet social distancing.

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