Tucked away in a magical urban cove, The Bernice Garden is a space that represents the SoMa Neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas by celebrating community, sustainability, and arts and culture. Privately owned by community pioneer and visionary Anita ...

 

TravelMag Names The Bernice Garden as One of The 12 Unique Things To-do in Little Rock! and more...




TravelMag Names The Bernice Garden as One of The 12 Unique Things To-do in Little Rock!

Tucked away in a magical urban cove, The Bernice Garden is a space that represents the SoMa Neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas by celebrating community, sustainability, and arts and culture. Privately owned by community pioneer and visionary Anita Davis, The Bernice Garden is a a perfect place to have lunch, see local sculpture art, host an event, and champion for the beauty that is unique to the Capital City.

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Farmers’ Market offers more bang for SNAP bucks!

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We’re so pleased to help spread the good news that SNAP users will receive twice their swipe in market tokens up to $30 per week – as in a $30 swipe = $60 in market tokens – thanks to the sponsorship of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.

We’re telling you so you can help spread the word, too.

And in other exciting market news, the last Sundays of June, July, September and October will be market-introduction tours and cooking-class demo days, geared toward SNAP users but free and open to all.

Participants will get $10 in market tokens to use on produce, then meet with class instructors to get tips on preparing the produce they purchased. Watch this space for details.

Here’s to sunshine and healthy eating!

Until next time …

    
 

Activities spring up for getting down in the garden

GetDownGarden_Poster_2Gracious! When things start hopping in the garden, they really start hopping. We’ve already had our first two weddings of the year and a visit from a group of docents from the Arkansas Arts Center.

Thursday, April 2, on the Arkansas Day of Giving,  Shannon Boshears, local musical phenomenon and Pulaski Technical College Foundation Executive Director, will “Get Down in the Garden” continuously from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., performing “Teach Your Children” with the assistance of drop-in guest musicians.

Funds will go to the purchase of a grand piano for the performance hall at PTC – and Shannon and friends just might break a world record by raising a 12-hour ruckus while raising funds. This is an all-day party, with food trucks, Loblolly ice cream and possible media coverage, so come ready to eat, sing, play or just clap along.

Oh, and make a donation if you’re so inclined, at pulaskitech.edu/arkansasgives.

Guest performers so far include: Walter K; Lori Stidham; Charlie Macom; Dr. Margaret Ellibee, PTC President; Dr. Mike DeLong, PTC Provost; Janet Troutman Ward, Pulaski Co. Tax Assessor; Mark Wyers; Jimmy Powell; Mike Nelson; Brian Nahlen; John Willis; Michael Shipp; Dave Shurgar; Jason Hale; Jamie Fleming; Nate Kennedy; Tammy Siler; Redd Hutsell; Leeann Sadler; Ivon Granaldi; Lucious Spiller; Gio Vanni Bruno; Philip Martin; Guido Ritchie; Doug LeFevre; Buck McArthur; Barry McVinney; Mark Currey; Marck L. Beggs; Ben Brenner; Mandy McBride; Michael Goodrich; Bruce Hulsey; Matt Dickson; Jessica Grenshaw; Genine Perez; Bentley Wallace, PTC VP; Cliff Aaron; Scott Sudduth; Barbara Raney.

And they’re still lining up – contact Shannon via Facebook if you’re interested or want more details.

•••••••••••••••

The Easter Bunny will do a little hopping in the garden Saturday, April 4. You can see details below.

 

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And you’ll notice another wedding that evening – the third of many scheduled for the coming months – if you go hop,  hop, hopping by.

 

 

•••••••••••••••

The following weekend is another really big one for the garden, with the first South Main Vintage Market of the year kicking off.

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People love the market and we love bringing people to SoMa to see what all we have to offer, which continues to grow.

And speaking of growing, Sunday brings our first fabulous Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market of 2015. Seems we’ve waited all winter for that … oh, wait. We have! But just in time, Sundays in SoMa will be bustling again.

That’s it for this time. Talk to you soon!

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Blossoms of spring signal blogging season – but first, let’s look back at the beautiful last wedding of the fall

How beautiful the Janton-Mason wedding on Sept. 6, 2014, was! This fabulous photo, courtesy of Pictures by Katie, highlights what a lovely setting the garden makes for special occasions.

How beautiful the Janton-Mason wedding on Sept. 6, 2014, was! This fabulous photo, courtesy of Pictures by Katie, highlights what a lovely setting the garden makes for special occasions.

When Cara Janton and Derrick Mason attended Little Rock Central High together (he was class of 2001, she 2003), not only did they not know they’d someday be wed not too far from their school – they didn’t even know each other existed.

Central is a very large place.

But, Cara says, “fast forward to summer of 2008 and we meet at the local watering hole, The Fountain, via mutual friends.” That night they discussed sports, then they saw each other occasionally for six months or so until he moved away briefly.

As things would have it, that’s when the relationship began to blossom: After Derrick left “we ended up talking on the phone for multiple hours every night.  He finally moved back to Little Rock, and we basically started dating one month later.  We’ve been best friends ever since.”

The wedding party approaches the garden.

The wedding party approaches the garden.

That friendship grew to love, and though Derrick was the first to say “I love you,” Cara says she quickly realized “he was who I wanted to share the rest of my life with. I didn’t want to imagine getting old with someone else.”

Derrick pulled off a great surprise proposal and the hunt for a wedding site was on.

Cara and Derrick Mason say they couldn't have found a better place for their ceremony and reception, which were attended by between 175 and 200 people

Cara and Derrick Mason say they couldn’t have found a better place for their ceremony and reception, which were attended by between 175 and 200 people

“We looked forever for a venue,” Cara says.” I’m a big researcher so I looked all over the place, inside and outside of the box. We had been to many fun events at the Bernice Garden including the Cornbread Festival and the SoMa Mardi Gras Parade, and we also live in the neighborhood. So we were familiar with the space, but I didn’t really think about it seriously at first as a venue.

“But the more we thought about it, it was perfect for everything we wanted. It’s outside, but covered, unique, naturally beautiful, conveniently located for out-of-towners, we could have the ceremony and reception there, and no restrictions when it came to vendors.  So ultimately it was PERFECT!”

theme

 

Cara says the wedding theme, if you could call it that,  would be fun/simple/DIY/rustic, as shown by the “All You Need Is Love” banner above. They had mason jars filled with tea lights, photo collages – Cara says her sister really took the “DIY decor bull by the horns.”

But many people helped.

“I would love to give a shout out to our friends and family that helped decorate the day of and take down the decorations that night,” Cara says. “Everything turned out exactly as we imagined!”

Happy faces, beautiful moment ...

Happy faces, beautiful moment …

Cara says one of her favorite things was the memorial chair in honor of her maternal grandmother who passed away just a couple of months before the wedding.  “She really wanted to be there,” Cara says. “I like to think she kept the storms away that day.”

The Mason's advice for couples considering a garden wedding? "Do it! It's an amazing place to get married – and you can go back and visit anytime!"

The Mason’s advice for couples considering a garden wedding? “Do it! It’s an amazing place to get married – and you can go back and visit anytime!”

Cara says one of my favorite things about getting married in the garden is “how the space transports you from being in downtown Little Rock. You are right in the middle of the city, but it basically makes you feel like you are in your own magical, whimsical space and it is just you and all of your friends and family!

“Also it’s just so dang beautiful, that you really don’t even have to decorate!”

The Mason's cake, made by a friend's grandmother who bakes out of her home, was layers of pound cake with buttercream frosting between the layers – perfect for their DIY theme.

The Mason’s cake, made by a friend’s grandmother who bakes out of her home, was layers of pound cake with buttercream frosting between the layers – perfect for their DIY theme.

"It really was just such a fun night," Cara says. "I remember just taking a moment and looking around at everyone dancing and laughing. It was just so perfect. So many family members from near and far and lots of friends from all areas of our lives, together to celebrate with us. It was everything we ever could have asked for. "

“It really was just such a fun night,” Cara says. “I remember just taking a moment and looking around at everyone dancing and laughing. It was just so perfect. So many family members from near and far and lots of friends from all areas of our lives, together to celebrate with us. It was everything we ever could have asked for. “

An added bonus is that not only can Cara and Derrick visit their wedding site whenever they like, but they also added a permanent element to the site, by adding a lock to the “Sealed with a Wish” sculpture.

Love locked in place. We wish you the happiest of lives, Cara and Derrick. And thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration.

Love locked in place. We wish you the happiest of lives, Cara and Derrick. And thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration.

    
 

Underground love match is sealed at the Garden

Sean and Kadi Lindsey, the happy couple exit the first garden wedding of 2014.

Sean and Kadi Lindsey, the happy couple exit the first garden wedding of 2014.

Kadi Redford and Sean Lindsey exchanged vows April 26, which gave them the distinction of having the first 2014 Bernice Garden wedding.

The Lindseys couldn’t be happier about their decision to marry their “best friends” in the garden.

Their love story is slightly unconventional – as Kadi says with a laugh, “It was definitely not love at first sight” – so the garden, to them, was the perfect choice.

“We were looking for an outdoor venue and had gone to look at a few, but none really fit us,” Kadi says. “I put a post on Facebook asking people for their suggestions for venues, and my friend Sylvia Blain suggested The Bernice Garden.

“I will never forget it; it was about 2 in the morning when I read her suggestion. I was so excited – Sean and I went right then to look at it and immediately fell in love [with the location]. We went back during the day the next day and it was perfect! It’s just so ‘us.’”

As dusk fell, the garden glowed.

As dusk fell, the garden glowed.

But who are they, you might wonder, and what makes their story unconventional?

Kadi is a special education teacher and Sean waits tables. They met five years ago through work and were engaged for 2 ½ years before tying the knot.

When they met, Kadi was waiting tables at The Underground Pub and Sean was the drummer for a band called Notion that played there occasionally. Kadi says she had a crush on him within a couple of months of meeting him, but it took a while for the relationship to click.

“I got to know his band mates and their wives, and everyone was so nice. One day, they invited me and the other servers to a cookout. I went, hoping that the cute drummer would be there, and he was!”

They spent quite a bit of time together that night, which was just the tentative beginning.

“From then on, we hung out here and there, but it wasn’t really going anywhere. I liked him, and I knew he liked me, but it wasn’t getting serious. I had reached the point that I decided that I was going to move on since it wasn’t going where I wanted it to go.”

That was when things changed, Kadi says.

“It was like he read my mind and BOOM! He was all of a sudden this amazing, sweet, fairytale of a guy, buying me flowers, taking me on dates, doing little sweet things all of the time. From then on, it just got better and better.

“We always had a relationship different from any other. We are best friends; he is my rock and I am his. We have both become better people because of each other; he has the biggest heart and is the most caring, loving person I know. He does everything that I need from him, plus some. I never would have thought that that long-haired drummer would become my amazing husband.”

Sean and Kadi cut their beautiful, outdoorsy-themed wedding cake.

Sean and Kadi cut their beautiful, outdoorsy-themed wedding cake.

Kadi is obviously overjoyed about her choice in husbands – and they were both totally pleased with their choice of The Bernice Garden for their ceremony.

“I would highly recommend it to anyone,”’ Kadi says. “It was amazingly gorgeous, which was nice since we didn’t have to have many decorations at all. It was perfect for having the ceremony and the reception at the same place. There are electrical outlets everywhere, which was very helpful.”

The Lindseys' guests found it easy to park and fit in the garden space.

The Lindseys’ guests found it easy to park and fit in the garden space.

We love this idea: a chalkboard "program," perfect for a teacher's wedding.

We love this idea: a chalkboard “program,” perfect for a teacher’s wedding.

They were pleased that parking was not an issue, even with 125 to 150 guests, and loved that their little dog, Franklin, could be part of the ceremony. And, Kadi says, “We didn’t have to worry about lighting – the lighting was perfect. It was just amazing overall.”

What a perfect night – and a perfect photo.

What a perfect night – and a perfect photo.

Kadi’s final thoughts on The Bernice Garden as a wedding venue make our hearts swell, too.

“It was beautiful and accommodating, and it really made our day just perfect. I can’t believe that we were able to find such a perfect venue that fit our needs as well as our personalities. We love that it’s open to the community and that many people play a part in its allure with their sculptures, gardening, etc.”

Kadi and Sean have plans to come back to the garden for their first anniversary to add a lock to the Wish Locks sculpture – as a symbolic gesture. We’re guessing their love doesn’t need a lock. Just look at those faces.

Kadi, Sean and Franklin are one darling, happy family.

Kadi, Sean and Franklin are one darling, happy family.

Photos courtesy of Megan Wilson Photography

    
 
 
   
 

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