Palm Beach Social Diary Garden Club of Palm Beach preview party + Landmarks denies Episcopal church app + When Lillys bloomed

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The Garden Club of Palm Beach's preview party offered a first glimpse of the blue ribbons and trophies awarded the area's most dedicated gardeners.

The Garden Club of Palm Beach hosted a cocktail party preview for its biennial exhibition “From the Ground Up,” a Garden Club of America flower show, welcoming more than 250 guests to the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery at The Society of the Four Arts. This year’s event introduced several new awards including the William G. Pannill Trophy for photography; the Garden Club of Palm Beach award for best traditional arrangement; and the club’s first award for best native plant named in remembrance of Frances Archbold Hufty.

And while some declared the season kaput weeks ago, the Garden Club’s supporters filled the O’Keeffe Gallery despite April showers, sunburns and seasonal fatigue. Here are some snaps from Friday night’s gathering, a look at The Society of the Four Arts’ recently opened Fitz Eugene Dixon Education Building, the latest on the kerfuffle between the Episcopal Church and the Landmarks Commission, and a brief glimpse back when Lillys were in bloom.

In 1934, The Garden Club of Palm Beach flower show was held at the slat house on the grounds of the Royal Poinciana Hotel. Above, Glee Smith, Marion McKinlock, the club’s president, and Ellen Glendinning Frazer Ordway, whose mother Elizabeth Glendinning was the club’s first honorary president. Courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.

12 April 2013 6-8 PM
“From the Ground Up”
Garden Club of Palm Beach Preview Party & Flower Show
The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach

The invitation’s laser-cut cover design was by Mary Pressly. The Garden Club’s 2013 biennial event was headed-up by co-chairwomen Vicky Hunt and Mary Pressly. The co-chairs of the preview party were Patt Sned and Sue Strickland. The supervision of the flower show’s various aspects were directed by: Mary Webster and Cindy Hoyt, floral design; Vickie Denton and Kit Pannill, horticulture; Jean Matthews, photography; Carrie Murray, botanical arts; Ann Blades and Beth Dowdle, conservation and education; Paula Cook, clerk chairman; Ginny Parker, staging; and the Garden Club’s administrative assistant, Sue Stacey.
The show’s thematic centerpiece.
The O’Keeffe Gallery was transformed into a showcase of museum-quality plants and arrangements.
Horticulture took center stage in this year’s show.
Heather Henry, president of the Garden Club of Palm Beach, and Patrick Henry.
Mary Pressly and Vicky Hunt, co-chairs for this year’s biennial garden club show.
The Mizneresque ambience sets the stage for some of the show’s more imposing exhibits.
The show offered a profusion of designs by the island’s club members as well as affiliate members from Jupiter Island, Delray Beach and Greenwich.
L. to r.: Patt Sned, co-chair of the preview party.; Mary Webster. Webster was awarded the GCA’s Harriet DeWaele Puckett Creativity Award with Mary Pressly.
Mary Webster’s imaginative arrangement won a divisional “Out on a Limb” First Award.
Mary Pressly received a First Award for this crafted presentation. Along with Best in Show awards for floral design, horticulture, and botanical arts, Pressly walked away with the GCA Dorothy Vietor Munger Award and the Harriet DeWaele Puckett Creativity Award.
Mary Pressly’s winning entry “Knock on Wood” in the botanical arts category.
The composition of Mary Pressly’s botanical arts entry.
An award-winning topiary crafted by Mary Pressly.
Mary Pressly’s top-ranked bromeliad.
Jane Foster took home an Honorable Mention for this arrangement in the “From Bulbs to Blooms and Beyond” category.
Carol Flanagan’s presentation garnered and Honorable Mention and the 2013 Traditional Design trophy.
L. to r.: Cat Miller.; Frances Webster Peter and Todd Peter.; Jean Matthews won Best in Show in the photography division.
L. to r.: Tom and Ginnie Parker.; Merrilyn Bardes.
L. to r.: Former club president Cindy Hoyt earned a Second Award for this arrangement.; This thoughtful display won a Second Award for Pat Goth and Winkie Sutter, founder of the Grass River Garden Club, Delray Beach.
Michael Formica, Louise Aylward, and Bob Hiemstra.
Peggy and Rodney Dillard.
Ambassador Edward and Susie Elson.
L. to r.: Dino Rivera and Michel Witmer.; Melinda Hassen.
“Pristine simplicity” was among the judge’s comments for this work crafted by Lynn Maddock and Patti Graebner.
A Second Award for this “Roots and Shoots” went to Cody Jones and Susie Lyons, Grass River Garden Club.
This particularly artful composition won a First Award for Christina Benisch, Grass River Garden Club.
L. to r.: This “Fungus Among Us” was of note. “Vibrant combination … ” remarked the judge’s notes, giving Betsy K. Matthews a Second Award.; In the “From the Ground Up” category, Christina Benisch received an Honorable Mention for this statuesque work.
Steven Chase and Kaki Holt. Kaki is the “garden scribe” for The Palm Beach Daily News.
Sterling Kenan and Sterling McCracken.
Dudley and Peggy Moore.
Bill Dunphy, Holly Breeden, Hawley McAuliffe, and Jack McAuliffe.
Renny Reynolds and Jack Staub.
Edith Dixon. Mrs. Dixon and her family were honored at The Society of Four Arts having been major benefactors of the new Fitz Eugene Dixon Education Building.
The new entrance to the Fitz Eugene Dixon Education Building a major addition to The Four Arts campus.

Edith Dixon recently presented a new addition to the Hulitar Sculpture Garden adjacent to the Dixon Building, a monumental stainless-steel sculpture by Grainger McKoy.
The Dixon Building and The King Library are connected by a walkway with commemorative stones, including this one for Leonard Lauder.
An up-to-date parking lot provides ample space.
The orchids are blooming in the Garden Club’s historic demonstration gardens at The Four Arts.

Back to the preview party

Cecie Titcomb’s hibiscus won a First Award and the Bunny du Pont Hibiscus Trophy.
Cecie and Rod Titcomb.
A trio of award-winning palms.
Nancy Murray’s cattleya won a First Award.
L. to r.: Kit Pannill’s white phalaenopsis was recognized as the show’s best orchid.; Penny Townsend received the first Frances Archbold Hufty Trophy for best native plant.
Penny Townsend.
L. to r.: Jennifer O’Brien received the GCA’s Catherine Beattie Medal and the Garden Club’s Sweepstakes Award for the most blue ribbons.; Lee LaPointe.
Gay Estes came from Houston for the party and the club’s biennial weekend event.
Rebecca Williams.
Susan McIntosh won the GCA’s coveted Rosie Jones Horticulture Award for her plant’s “exceptional visual appeal …”
Jupiter Island’s Cecilie Cruger crafted this artful botanical work.
Wylene Commander’s photographic work won the first William G. Pannill Photography Trophy.
Wylene Commander.
A sampling from the photography division.
Seen among the tropical tabletop plants.
Diana Barrett and Bob Vila.
Philip James and Beth Dowdle.
Bailey and Caroline Sory.
L. to r.: Hope Annan.; Jasmine Horowitz and Donald Scott.
Bob Wildrick and Nancy Kloberg.
L. to r.: Susan Van Pelt.; Sugar Thebault. Thebault and Vickie Denton were awarded the Bunny Nelson Memorial Trophy as the blue ribbon winner of the small arrangement class.
Vicky and Sam Hunt. Vicky Hunt will be the 2014 president of the Garden Club of Palm Beach.
Vicky Hunt’s whimsical “Gator Gone Vegetarian” won the GCA’s Botanical Arts Creativity Award.

Mary Pressly’s design for the invitation was also the focal point of the exhibition’s north alcove.

The Episcopal Church of Bethesda by-the-Sea
Cluett Memorial Garden Tea House

Afar beyond the obelisks, the tea house in the Cluett Memorial Garden at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda by-the-Sea.

In January, the Town Council approved the Episcopal Church’s application to enclose and air-condition one of their ancillary structures, the open-air tea house overlooking the fountain in the Cluett Memorial Garden, subject to obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In a recent 5-2 vote, Landmarks denied the COA application. According to the minutes, members stated updating the tea house would “… affect the historical value of the property negatively.” The Episcopal church has appealed the Landmarks decision and is now scheduled for the May 15 Town Council meeting.

While board members suggest an “invisible” enclosure would be ideal, it is unrealistic. The church would like to utilize this secondary space on a year-round basis; air-conditioning is essential. The Palm Beach season is slightly longer than eight-weeks when the structure was built. According to one of the town’s consultants, the church’s request is no different than what has previously been approved numerous times for the enclosure of residential loggias. In addition, it appears the improvements could be removed, allowing the structure at any time to return to its earlier building form.

The 1930s-styled tea house has remained open for more than 80 years, its structural elements vulnerable to the elements.

Lilly Pulitzer (1931-2013)

In writing about Lilly Pulitzer‘s remarkable life, fashion writer Robert Janjigian declared “… whose colorful Lilly Pulitzer fashions endure as one of the strongest symbols of Palm Beach.” Here are a few photos from Ellen Ordway‘s photograph collection when the Lilly style was in bloom everywhere you looked in Palm Beach.

Cheray and Peter Duchin. Palm Beach, 1965. Bokara Legendre’s poolside luncheon at Villa Bel Tramonto. Courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.
Cheray Duchin lounging in the Lilly style. Villa Bel Tramonto. Palm Beach 1965. Courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.
Cheray Duchin lounging in the Lilly style. Villa Bel Tramonto. Palm Beach 1965. Courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.
Mother and daughter wearing their Lillys. Seated right, Ellen Glendinning Ordway; standing, her daughter, Bettina Frazer Dale. The Breakers. Palm Beach, 1966. Courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.
Bettina Frazer Dale wearing sandals and her Lilly shift at the wheel of a golf cart. The Breakers, 1966. Courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.

Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.

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