"Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art." - Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
As my mother's 90th birthday approached, I asked how she'd like to celebrate. Her reply: "something simple and quiet, with the family." But for such a momentous occasion, mom reaching her ninetieth year of life: all that she's seen and done; won and lost; created and nurtured - simple, small and quiet just wouldn't do. As I thought of how to start planning mom's celebration, my favorite quote I've ascribed to her came to mind...
A garden so brilliant with colors, so original in its design, so magnificent with life and creativity...
she is radiant...Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength-
in search of my mother's garden, I found my own." - Alice Walker
With this quote and my Mother as inspiration, I decided that the theme to her birthday celebration would be a Garden Party. After that, everything else seamlessly fell into place. I hired Karl Kunston, a dreamy jazz crooner (and good friend) to provide the music (jazz trio & D.J.); my Mother's Bible study group - the Sunset Sisters - provided the appetizer tables; my dear friend (Ellen) catered dinner; my beloved Denise (principal photography), and Mr. G carted home three cases of Bubbly.
"I must have flowers, always and always." - Claude Monet
I splurged on several bunches of exquisite silk flowers (for the doors and four planters), then set about creating three fanciful interior gardens, in the main rooms where the party would be held. I searched in vain for the flowers I wanted (live and faux). They weren't large enough, not colorful enough, not...fantastic enough - I felt like Goldilocks ;-} In the end, I decided to make them myself. Huge tissue flowers (of every Spring-hue). Nearly every night, for six weeks, I cut, shaped, taped and glued...
In the sitting room, I created a carpet of flowers for the fireplace mantel and put one of my green couches beneath it. To my pleasant surprise, several of our guests provided the decorations for the champagne bar: a gorgeous handmade D and half a dozen potted Orchids.
"Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together..." - Clare Ansberry
While discussing the musical details, Karl told me he was bringing a portable Photo Booth. The only things required were a blank wall and something for the guests to sit on. Blank wall? I don't think so! Thus was the inspiration for my 2nd garden. I created and installed an intimate garden in my entryway - a vintage, toile upholstered, bench set amid a garden of my flowers (some with ribbon stems, others freestanding, on 'stems' I made from Solo cups, concrete, chicken wire and sparkly green mesh fabric). The final effect was pretty fabulous and the guests loved it!
"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair." - Susan Polis Schutz
My 3rd fanciful garden was a request from the Birthday Girl. For our White Room, that I turned into a private jazz club and dance hall, Mom wanted only white flowers. Above our piano I created a mural of my favorite photos featuring Mom.
Club La Dorothy
The Trio thrilled our guests with a 2 hour Jazz concert, then Karl spun dance music for the rest of the night. Mom and her 70 guests had a grand time. It was a magical evening.
Karl Kunston Trio: Karl (dulcet vocals), Liza (pianist extraordinary), Daniel (electric bass)
Cake & Song
Happy Birthday Mom!
We laughed, danced, sang, nibbled and sipped. Surrounded by her family, grandchildren and friends, mom celebrated 90 late into the night. It was, simply, perfect.
Vivre, Rire, Aimer!