Just having one of the speakers for the 12th Annual Writer’s Garden Symposium and Luncheon in the Dallas Arboretum’s Rosine Hall on Wednesday, November 14, would have been pretty spectacular. But Women’s Council President Linda Spina and Luncheon Chair Michelle Mew had renowned art historian/landscape designer Colta Ives and lifestyle doyenne Carolyne Roehm as the double-headers for a crowd that include Honorary Chair Barbara Hunt Crow, Emilynn Wilson, Claire Cunningham, Venise Stuart, Patti Flowers, Donna Arp Weitzman, Giana de Paul, Patricia Cowlishaw, Susan Scullin, Melissa Lewis and Anne Sappington. Here’s a report from the field:
Carolyne Roehm, internationally recognized style icon and gardener extraordinaire and Colta Ives, renowned art historian and landscape designer, shared their stories of achievement and passion with a captivated sold-out crowd at the 12th Annual A Writer’s Garden Literary Symposium and Luncheon “A Passion for Gardens” chaired by Michelle Mew.
The sun was shining as the morning began with book sales, centerpiece sales and the silent auction set up just outside Rosine Hall at the Dallas Arboretum and the room soon filled with ladies and a few gents in anticipation of the symposium.
Women’s Council President Linda Spina welcomed the crowd thanking everyone for their support, including Honorary Chair Barbara Hunt Crow and Betty Lou Phillips, who hosted the Intimate Evening reception sponsored by “Garden & Gun Magazine” the evening before. Sharron Lucky, emcee, gave an overview of the speakers and their backgrounds, introducing Colta Ives as the first speaker. Colta is Curator Emerita, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a renowned art historian, trained landscape designer and author of many books, her latest titled “Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence.”
Colta’s presentation followed in the footsteps of nineteenth-century artists who celebrated the out-of-doors as a place of leisure, renewal and inspiration. The slideshow was full of detailed drawings, sketches, official landscape designs and paintings by Manet and Seurat which were inspired by the beautiful public gardens in Paris and Monet’s art works depicting his private garden. Many other private gardens were explored revealing a truly engaging portrait of the power of horticulture to shape both the physical and creative world.
After an intermission which gave everyone the opportunity to check on those silent auction bids, Carolyne Roehm was introduced. A style icon and lifestyle maven, she has been part of American design culture for over four decades with a career spanning the fashion, gardening, decorative arts, entertaining and publishing worlds.
We came to know Carolyne better as she shared a brief history, saying that as an only child, she grew up playing dress up and it wasn’t until she saw the 1961 film “Back Street” that she knew her passion for fashion design could be realized, seeing that the film’s main character was a fashion designer. That’s when she knew what she wanted to be.
Finding a mentor in Oscar de la Renta, Carolyne worked alongside the couture great for 10 years before launching her own fashion house in 1985. A discerning eye and a passion for beauty lead her into the world of flowers and gardening, where her books are often referred to as the best in their field. Subsequent entertaining and interiors titles cemented her position as one of America’s premier lifestyle experts.
She loves to set a beautiful table, saying it’s like setting a stage. Many of her slides showed the relationship between the color and structure of flowers and how she translates those into her fashion designs. Carolyne said quality is something to be treasured and that classic styling and elegance are timeless.
Michelle gave heartfelt thanks to everyone, saying that this event was indeed fun fundraising, had exceeded her expectations and was a sell-out. She also recognized Connie Rhoades and gave her appreciation for chairing the Intimate Evening event.
She mentioned upcoming events including the 28th Mad Hatter’s Tea Reveal at Tootsies on Wednesday, November 28; the “Seventh Swans A Swimming” Members’ Winter Meeting and Luncheon Presentation of Women’s Council Founder’s Award on Tuesday, December 4; the “Moonlit Masquerade” A Tasteful Place on Saturday, March 9; and the 31st Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Party & Luncheon on Thursday, April 11.
For the past eleven years, A Writer’s Garden Literary Symposium and Luncheon has presented outstanding authors and speakers with extensive knowledge in the histories of garden design, architecture and art, and stories of extraordinary individuals and events.
Since 1986, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the development and maintenance of A Woman’s Garden, the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women. A Woman’s Garden celebrates the strength, ingenuity, creativity and determination of all women and is a centerpiece garden of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
Founded in 1982, the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s purpose is to support and promote the interest and growth of A Woman’s Garden and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The Women’s Council DABG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Visit the website at www.womenscouncildallasarboretum.org
* Photo credit: Dana Driensky