Getting Wild at Lotusland

By Richard Mineards   |   August 1, 2023
Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman (photo by Priscilla)

A bountiful bevy of parasol-carrying anthophiles and phytologists turned out for Lotusland’s sun-soaked sold-out annual fundraiser gala with 500 guests raising a hefty $800,000 towards sustainability and plant conservation programming.

Thomasine Richards and Belle Hahn find shade under the blossoming walking tree (photo by Priscilla)

The fun fête at the 37-acre botanical paradise dubbed Lotusland Celebrates: Where the Wild Things Grow, organized by Merryl Brown Events and designed by Mary Ta, was presented by Michael Hurley and Nora McNeely-Hurley in memory of Marjorie Reeds-McNeely.

It was co-chaired by Ashley Adelson, Merryl Brown, Joseph Marek, and Caroline Thompson.

“This event will surprise, inspire, and delight friends of the garden,” said Rebecca Anderson, director of the former estate of opera singer Ganna Walska, which opened to the public 30 years ago.

Guests gathering on the Great Lawn were able to explore the botanical nirvana during the cocktail hour with herb-infused libations, wine from Presqu’ile and an exhibition of digital botany sculptures by Lynda Weinman of LyndaLABS.

Emcee August Bernstein, head of the Raymond Blanc Garden School at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, England, and ubiquitous auctioneer Geoff Green, head of the City College Foundation, sold off 50 lots, including art, fashion, and jewelry, as well as a Silverhorn one-of-a-kind Lotus Blossom pendant of 18-carat white gold with a rare 10-carat tourmaline with sapphires and diamonds with a pearl centerpiece worth $22,000.

Among the flurry of floral fans and cacti connoisseurs were Belle and Lily Hahn, Lynn Cunningham Brown, actor Christopher Lloyd, John and Connie Pearcy, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Carole Ridding, Ginni Dreier, Xorin Balbes and Truman Davies, Penny Bianchi, Robert and Robin Fell, Janet Garufis, Bruce Heavin, Perri Harcourt, and Christopher Toomey.

A blooming good time was had by all.

Caroline Thompson, Ashley Adelson, Joseph Marek, and Merryl Brown (photo by Priscilla)

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