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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 5:32 pm | Fair 60º


Montecito Romances its Garden at Ganna Walska Lotusland Fete

Celebration utilizes the entire estate in $140,000 benefit programs like fourth-grade outreach

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Boy, what a party! Montecito residents were out in force at the sold-out Romancing the Garden Celebration held on a pleasant and sunny afternoon at Ganna Walska Lotusland. Well-dressed guests, some in period attire, greeted each other as they strolled the meandering paths of the beautiful gardens before arriving on the Main Lawn, where dinner was served and a six-item auction was held. From the moment of a parking lot greeting to the presentation of a glass of wine, champagne or cocktail at the beginning of the garden path, guests were treated to a unique event that was superb in every detail.

Actors were in costume to represent each of Madame Walska’s six husbands, and they had fun joshing each other on their relative stature as her husband in conversations with the attendees. Dancers from State Street Ballet performed whimsical dances under waving trees on sunlit patios in the garden.

Jennie Grube and Eileen Rasmussen, dressed brightly in red and coral, served as co-chairwomen of the celebration and were assisted by committee members Debby Baldwin, Nydia Cardot, Jill Chase, Karmyn Conk, Lisa Couvillion, Tamara Jensen, Emily Jones, Dawn Lafitte, Jill Levinson, Jillian Muller, Sandi Nicholson, Debby Peterson, Lizzie Peus, Laura Shelburne, Daryl Stegall, Kim Thomas, Caroline Thompson, Crystal Wyatt and Deanne Zampelli.

Board trustees spotted in the crowd of nearly 500 guests were president Larry Durham; Andy Chou; Mason Farrell; Isabelle Greene; Eileen Rasmussen; Susanne Tobey; Lynda Weinman, co-founder of Lynda.com (who was there with her mother, Carolyn Greenbaum, and her husband, Bruce Heavin) and more.

Top sponsors included Patricia and Larry Durham, IDO Events, The Little One Foundation, Connie and John Pearcy, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Silverhorn Jewelers, Kind World Foundation, Rita and Henry Hortinstine, and Laura Scandrett.

Additional event contributors were Marc Appleton and Joanna Kerns, Susanne and Gary Tobey, Patricia Broome, the Cardot Family and Jillian and Pete Muller, Neal Feay Co. and Eileen and Alex Rasmussen.

Yummy hors d’oeuvres were passed in the gardens and on the lawn; dinner was presented by Duo Catering. Dessert was provided by Renaud’s Patisserie and Bistro. Spotted in the crowd were Paul Orfalea, Carolyn Amory, Anne and Michael Towbes, Kyle Brace, Cathy and Bart Clemens, Ozzie Da Ros, Christine and Bob Emmons, Tipper Gore, Frank Goss, Cyndee Howard, Melissa and Ralph Iannellli, Joan and Palmer Jackson, Irma and Morrie Jurkowitz, Lois and Bridgette Mitchell, Carole Ridding, Annette and Harold Simmons, and Crystal and Clifford Wyatt.

“We are thrilled with the auction results, which raised $113,000," said Courtney Tentler, the organization's events coordinator. "Auctioneer Eilza Osborne of Sotheby's did a fabulous job.

“Following the auction, we asked the guests for support toward Lotusland's Fourth-Grade Outreach Program, which raised an additional $27,000 to bring fourth-grade classrooms to Lotusland. It looks like a record-breaking year with around $300,000 net income.”

Lotusland's board, committee, staff members — including Tentler, executive director Gwen Stauffer and Anne Dewey — and other volunteers and staff are to be commended for using the garden to such advantage at this lovely outdoor event.

Click here for more information on Lotusland, or call Anne Dewey at 805.969.3797 x105.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkSociety. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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