Horticulturist of the Year 2005
With the Santa Anas providing the perfect balmy evening and the Huntington Botanical Gardens the ideal setting, the Society held its 2005 annual Award Banquet on Thursday, October 13th, 2005.
Always a special night, this year’s event was made all the more memorable with the honoring of the 2005 Horticulturist of the Year, the incomparable Bart O’Brien, our Southern California Horticulture Society’s own beloved President.
A large and enthusiastic turnout of Society members, including seven previous Horticulturist of the Year winners, along with many special guests enjoyed heartfelt and frequently hilarious introductions of Bart and his numerous impressive accomplishments.
Elizabeth Schwartz, V.P. of our Board of Directors, and the woman whose months of hard work – in tandem with Steve Gerischer – made the evening such a smashing success, was the first guest speaker. Providing warm and personable expressions of Bart’s world class expertise and generosity of spirit, Elizabeth also gave the audience its first sneak peek at the cover of Bart’s new book (expected by the end of the year) co-authored with Carol Bornstein of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Dave Fross of Native Sons Nursery.
Jackie Sevareid, board Secretary, passionately presented Bart’s biography, painting a vivid word picture of the man considered a legend by his peers. (The published version of the profile, skillfully written by board member, Kerry Morris, is in the latest issue of Pacific Horticulture magazine.)
Joan Citron then brought the legend quickly down to earth with her own unique and witty perspective on Bart and his place in horticulture.
Shirley Kerins had the audience in stitches with her colorful recollections of “Burt,” “Brett,” and “Brad” O’Brien – all apparently clones of Bart.
Finally, Board members and past HOTY winners, Lili Singer and Joan DeFato collaborated on a charming and highly creative segment that culminated in their presentation of the Horticulturist of the Year award to this year’s recipient.
With his proud parents in the front row having traveled from Hollister, California, Bart graciously accepted his honor and thanked many who made it possible. His clever and entertaining acceptance appearance included the slide presentation of some of Bart’s favorite native plants, and the telling of stories and anecdotes about his eagerly awaited just published book, California Native Plants for the Garden.
Earlier in the evening guests were particularly impressed with their private viewing of the Huntington’s spectacular new Conservatory, opened just days before. The opportunity to see the Conservatory’s initial plantings and inaugural displays was a greatly appreciated treat for all who attended.
The award night’s success and undeniable appeal were only made possible through the exhaustive efforts of board member, Kathy Musial of the Huntington and the talented team of volunteers responsible for flower arranging, drink sales, reception, photography, purchasing, setup and clean up, and of course the silent auction.
The Silent Auction
As dinner and the silent auction were drawing to a close, a determined and passionate group of bidders gathered around the bidding tables as friendly but spirited competition ensued.
Among the more hotly contested items were:
- Six hours of gardening by Laura Bauer’s Fine Gardening Service (thank you Laura!);
- An antique garden fork (donated by Linda Pomerance);
- Agave lophantha in a glazed square Asian pot (donated by Sharon Yonashiro);
- FLORA (book, CD-rom and book bag) (donated by Cathy Ratner);
- “Dreams in Flight” monotype/collagraph with pressed flowers (made and donated by Trish Meyer);
- Pogonatherum paniceum ‘Little Bamboo’ in terracotta pot (donated by Linda Pomerance); many interesting books, and much more.
Thank you to the silent auction organizer, Steve Gerischer, and to all donors, and all bidders. You helped the Society raise over $1,200 to carry out our mission!