Flower Power: Garden Parties at Palm Beach

Featured image
Casa Phippsberger, courtyard view from the terrace. The Gentlemen of the Garden welcomed more than 250 members and guests to GOG a Go Go Spring Disco Ball, the group’s annual benefit held at founding member Bob Eigelberger and his wife Susie Phipps’ home on North Lake Way. Formally organized in 1991, GOG primarily supports the gardening activities at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. In addition, it has funded landscaping and environmental beautification projects at the Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County, The Community Foundation Green Fund, and The YMCA of the Palm Beaches.

The Palm Beach calendar is entering its seasonal lull as bridge foursomes go their separate directions and golfers tee off for Northern climes. Amid the final flurry of luncheons, teas and galas, two of the area’s most notable green thumbs, The Garden Club of Palm Beach and The Gentlemen of the Garden, celebrated milestones. GCPB marked its 90th Birthday with a composed sunset gathering at the Pannill Pavilion. GOG observed its 27th convergence with a 70s-themed silent auction-dinner-disco dancing benefit at Casa Phippsberger. Both groups share a passion for preserving and maintaining Palm Beach’s unique tropical ambiance.

On March 28, 1928, Susie Phipps’s grandmother Margarita Grace (Mrs. John S.) Phipps hosted the first organizational meeting of The Garden Club of Palm Beach at Casa Bendita, where 90 years later Saturday night’s Gentlemen of the Garden benefit was held in the estate’s remaining six-acre garden that has evolved into Casa Phippsberger, the island’s most sensational private botanical garden.

GOG guests were overcome by Saturday night fever on the plein-air dance floor beneath Casa Phippsberger’s towering rain forest.

March 29, 2018
Garden Club of Palm Beach: 1928-2018
Pannill Pavilion – The Society of the Four Arts

Ever since The Garden Club of Palm Beach retained the noted Bennett, Parsons & Frost firm in 1929 to formulate a Plan for The Town of Palm Beach that established a Planning & Zoning Board, the group has been at the forefront of preserving Palm Beach’s environmental aesthetic. Whether its Demonstration Gardens (1938) at The Society of Four Arts or, more recently, funding the design of Worth Avenue’s Living Wall, the landscaping of Wrightsman Park, the dedication of South Ocean Boulevard’s Oasis Circle, or staging its biennial GCA Flower Show, the Garden Club has remained committed to the beautification of Palm Beach.

The Garden Club of Palm Beach welcomed 150 members and their guests to mark 90 years of dedication to the Town’s horticulture, environment, conservation, planning, and civic improvement.
Garden Club, 90th Birthday Invitation.
Pannill Pavilion. Guests congregated beneath the palms at the surrounding Hulitar Sculpture Garden’s plaza and terrace underwritten by Naoma Donnelley Haggin.
Vicky Hunt greeted members and guests at the Pannill Pavilion.
Susie Elson, chairman of The Society of the Four Arts board of trustees, and Ambassador Edward Elson, vice-chairman of The Society of the Four Arts board of trustees.
The Garden Club’s most distinguished member Jane Rovensky Grace attended with John Gonzalez. At age 100, Mrs. Grace has been an active club member for 66 years.
First Palm Beach Flower Show, March 1929, under the auspices of The Garden Club of Palm Beach.
Connie and Peter Geisler with Bobbie Lindsey, council member of the Town of Palm Beach, and her husband Douglas Buck.
Heather Murray, Nancy Murray, Nancy McFadden, and Dr. John Murray.
Mary and David Pressly.
L to R.: Kit Pannill.; Susan Collins.
Alan and Goldie Stopek. Principal of the Efflorescence Inc. horticultural firm, Stopek is an honorary member of The Garden Club of Palm Beach.
Anne Pepper and Nancy Mendel.
Bill and Pat Sned.
John and Liz Schuler. Since 2005, the Elizabeth & John Schuler Award is given annually by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach “to recognize new architecture that is designed and built in keeping with the traditional styles of Palm Beach architecture.”
Ed and Nancy Madden.
L to R.: The Garden Club of Palm Beach welcomed 150 members and their guests to mark 90 years of dedication to the Town’s horticulture, environment, conservation, planning, and civic improvement.; Spring fashions at Palm Beach.

Dudley and Peggy Moore.
Beth Dowdle.
Chip James and Elizabeth Matthews.
Marti Straton.
Sam Hunt.
Charles and Alison Sieving with Jay Boodheshwar, deputy town manager of the Town of Palm Beach.
Robert Frisbie and Jennifer Lazzara.
Porpoises at play, centerpiece of the Naoma Donnelley Haggin plaza and fountain.
L to R.: Vickie and Don Denton.; Merrilyn Bardes.
Pannill Pavilion.
The Garden Club of Palm Beach, 1918-2018.

March 31, 2018
GOG A Go Go Spring Disco Ball
Casa Phippsberger – Palm Beach

The Gentlemen of the Garden welcomed more than 250 supporters and guests for dinner and dancing to GOG a Go-Go, its 2018 Spring Disco Ball held at Casa Phippsberger. Guests gathered on an east patio for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and perusing silent auction items before moving along one of the estate’s jungle trails for dinner served in the central courtyard, appearing to have recovered from the summer storm that uprooted many of the island’s plantings. Café Sapori catered the event, superb service and magnificó Italiano. Almost a decade ago, I posted on NYSD a sunlit visit to Garden Grandeur endures at Casa Phippsberger, a look at what remains and the transformation of Casa Bendita, the legendary Phipps estate. During Saturday night’s visit my mind turned the pages of Balzac and Proust with shades of Fellini and a touch of Cirque du Soleil.

GOG A Go-Go, Invitation.
January 1991. GOG hosts a pre-party for its first benefit “Cross Your Heart and Hope To …”
Jonathan Cameron-Hayes, 2018.
Bob Eigelberger, 2018, the event’s host and disco scholar, pictured with a portrait offered during the silent auction.
Artist Charles Bane with his portrait of Bob Eigelberger.
Sculptor Hubert Phipps.
Guests documenting their 70s look.
Rene von Richthofen, one of GOG’s charter members.
L to R.: Pamela Moody and Russ Griffin.; Sculptor Jane Manus von Richthofen.; Edwina Sandys.
L to R.: Wendy and Bill Fritz.; More looks from the 70s.
Guests unearthed 70s treasures.
David Bush and Tim McVay.
Guests arrived from Denmark.
L to R.: Some guests celebrated a disco Easter.; William Dobbs and Terry Zymslo.
Bob Hall, Phillip Kraft, and Elizabeth Iorio. The gardens were in High Spring bloom.
L to R.: Todd Hase, Sybil de Bourbon-Parme, and Bill Eberhardt.; Emmy and Dr. Rudy Scheerer.
L to R.: Elizabeth Hoadley and Alfonso de Landa.; Adam and Allison McPherson.
Andrew Gentile, center, with Ron and Dee Romeo.
L to R.: Preston Atinsky and David Negri.; Platform shoes, go-go boots and picture-taking.
Disco metallica.

The place was crawling with ants …

Susan Phipps Cochran Sculptor

Dinner is served …

Among the vines and ferns.
Miller table, east terrace. I was a guest of friends Ray Wakefield-David Miller. One of the group’s 21 charter members, David chaired the United Nations Dessert Table at the 1991 Gentlemen of the Garden benefit.
Our host David Miller and Augustus Mayhew. Photo by Susan Gubelmann.
Susan Gubelmann with her Fiorucci.
Our view of the courtyard from the Miller Table.
Casa Phippsberger, north elevation.
Duncan Sandys.
David Cook and Edwina Sandys.
Alexis and David Cook.
Dr. Rudy Scheerer and Ray Wakefield.
L to R.: Jennifer Garrigues.; Mai Hallingby Harrison.
At dinner.
Miller Table … getting late. That is Jane Manus at the very end of the table.

Amid the strobe lights and fog machine

Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur

Recent Posts