Designers Build Their Visions of Paradise at Flowers & Design Gala

Designers looked to the sea and the Garden of Eden to create bold, lush looks at the Horticultural Society of New York's flower-filled fund-raiser.

By Lisa Cericola & Mark Mavrigian April 30, 2009, 11:56 AM EDT

A flourishing garden setting by Susan Edgar of Flowers, Sticks, and Stones

Photo: Emily Gilbert for BizBash

Horticultural Society of New York Flowers & Design Gala
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On Tuesday night the Horticultural Society of New York held its Flowers & Design gala at 583 Park Avenue. While the harsh reality of the economy is on everyone's mind these days, this year's flower-laden event incorporated an escapist theme and did what it does best—show off elegant and sometimes wild floral creations. The theme, “This Side of Paradise,” brought a preponderance of bold, lush designs—as well as designers' takes on what they view as paradise, with many beach and sea-inspired looks, as well as some riffs on the Garden of Eden.

Maureen Ferry, the society's director of special events, coordinated the event with longtime design chair Chris Giftos, former floral designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “This year more than ever, we hoped Flowers & Design would be an occasion for our guests to celebrate, relax, and escape reality for an evening. To achieve this we enlisted the designers to transform the space into paradise,” Ferry said. Honorees were renowned interior designer Mario Buatta, gardener Suzy Bales, and landscape architect Thomas Balsley. There were five fewer tables this year, and 27 participating designers, compared to 31 in 2008. The gala raised approximately $250,000, down from $375,000 last year.

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