2010 February 10

New York Flower Power

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Orchid Dinner Orchid Dinner
© PATRICK MCMULLAN/PatrickMcMullan.com
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(NEW YORK) The first flakes of a blizzard were coming down outside, but it may as well have been springtime on the 36th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, where the New York Botanical Garden held its annual Orchid Dinner.

“This event is that harbinger of spring,” gushed Fernanda Kellogg, the evening’s chair and president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation. “Orchids are at their best this time of year, and they are just plain gorgeous. If you want to feel glamorous and you want to feel special, just put yourself in a room full of these!”

Pink, orange, purple and white fleurs rose from the tables’ centers in arrangements overseen by decorations chair Carolyn Englefield, editor-at-large for Veranda. Each flower-constructed centerpiece was designed and donated by figures hailing from the fashion, architecture, horticulture and literature worlds. As little as a a few hours to as many as several days went into the preparation. After totaling ticket sales and auction proceeds, nearly $600,000 was raised to support the Botanical Garden’s orchid research collection.

Event sponsor Tiffany & Co. donated a Chinese New Year-inspired centerpiece designed by its former vice president of creative services Robert Rufino, now editor-at-large for House Beautiful. “When I send a gift, it’s usually white orchids,” Rufino said. “They're just real beauty. They’re simple, honest and pure.”

The evening began with an auction of rare specimens. “I bought three big potted orchids here tonight,” said gala chair Deborah Royce who has had mixed success growing orchids in her own conservatory. Who will the lucky recipient of the flowers be? “Let’s just say I’m giving them to my husband.”


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