Outdoor Entertaining Focus of OCtech Foundation’s Spring Garden Event

Create the scene. Set the mood. Prepare the menu. Bring it all together for the ultimate outdoor gathering with tips and tricks you’ll learn at the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Foundation’s 13th annual Home and Garden Symposium on Wednesday, May 10.

Rick Woodley of Woodley’s Garden Center, Amanda Spencer of Spencer Special Events and Sallie Porth of Sallie’s Greatest will be on hand to share landscaping and entertaining ideas that will help you throw a party your guests won’t soon forget.

“I’m so excited about this year’s speakers,” said Martha Burleson, event chair. “Mr. Woodley has such a gorgeous business in the Columbia area, and Amanda is a dear friend and one of the most creative people I know. Going to a party or dinner at her home is just like going to a picture-perfect dinner out of Southern Living magazine. I haven’t met Sallie yet, but speaking to her on the phone, she is infectious. Everyone who knows her says wonderful things about her and her products.

“If you enjoy working in your garden or entertaining family and friends, then this is one event you won’t want to miss.”

Woodley’s love of gardening will shine through his presentation as he offers tips for incorporating colorful plants and texture into your outdoor oasis. He will be followed by Hilton Head Island-based wedding and social event planner Spencer, who said she enjoys seeing a client’s vision come to life.

“I get into the details and all of the frill and the fun,” she said. “I’m going to share some of my personal planning tricks of the trade and what I love to do when having a backyard soiree or some friends over for dinner. I love to do all of the little special touches just like we would for a wedding because it makes your guests feel so special.”

Cameron’s own Porth will round out the day with easy recipes for adding the final ingredient to a great garden gathering – delicious food and drinks.

“I’ll be making easy summer cocktails and jam and cheese pairings for entertaining,” she said. “They’re all very simple, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Sallie’s Greatest jams and simple syrups will be available for purchase at the event and samples of some of her creations will be offered. Porth said her jams can go from jar to appetizer, main course or dessert with few additional ingredients, while the simple syrups can be used to flavor alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages alike.

“We’ve done your muddlings, your herbal infusions and your simple syrup all in one,” she said. “That’s why we can make really delicious, easy, creative cocktails with a limited number of ingredients. We only use fresh, locally sourced fruit.”

The day will begin with flower show entry drop-off from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., followed by a silent auction and brunch catered by Buckridge Plantation from 10 to 11:45 a.m. in the atrium of OCtech’s Math and Science Center, Building R. Speakers will begin at noon in Roquemore Auditorium. Guests will have an opportunity to explore the flower show and purchase plants following the presentations.

Tickets to the Home and Garden Symposium are $45 per person. Funds raised assist in providing scholarships for deserving OCtech students and special projects at the college. This year’s signature sponsor is Super-Sod.

For more information or tickets, call the foundation office at 803-535-1246, email blanchardmr@octech.edu or visit www.octech.edu.