Avant Garden






Hello There and Happy Sunday to you!

I just had to share a few of these beautiful images from the magical “Avant Garden” event I attended yesterday at the world renowned Lotusland, which blessings of all blessings, happens to be located right here in our very own little Montecito.

And what a stunning, splendiferous affair it was! The gentleman braved the heat as though in a Merchant Ivory film and all the beautiful ladies fully embracing the ‘avant garden’ theme betrayed not a hint of wilt.



This year’s honorary Gala Chair and Hostess with the Mostess was the amazing creator of “Santa Barbara Magazine” and “C” Magazine and all round force of nature Jennifer Smith Hale (who also happened to be wearing one of the most gorgeous dresses of the evening).  Here pictured with that terribly plain couple Nacho Figueras and Delfina Blaquier. Thank God they have great personalities.  (photo via C Magazine Instagram)




Throughout the gardens an exhibition of mannequins and live models all in Valentino .



But the true star of this event is always those gardens….OH, those gardens… they continue to grow more spectacular with every passing year. With thanks, not in small part, to events such as these that help raise the funds to nourish Lotusland in a way that no doubt would make Madame Walska very proud.


One of the few auction items last night was this diamond dusted triptych of Ganna Walska (1887-1984), actress, opera singer, garden visionary extraordinaire and creator of Lotusland. (and SO much more-there’s a link to another post I wrote about her a few years back at the bottom of this post)



The Lotus Garden





The famous shell lined pool



what else? Lotus chips with almond cheese and fresh flowers


Found my next car too.  (Honey, it’s called a “Talbo” T A L B O )


Don’t know these two but they were adorable!




Me with Jennifer Smith Hale’s fabulous mom Anne Towbes. Love this lady.


Nati Smith, Jennifer’s sister-in-law  looking completely fahbulous in the cactus garden


Beautiful Nijinskyesque dancers amongst the oaks


Roses from the garden and chunks of the turquoise bottle glass that lines the paths at Lotusland.


Camilla, Jennifer, Bui, and Elizabeth in Valentino.  (I know I should have moved the wine glasses but where was I putting them?? btw, could we possibly have had any more empty glasses lined up?!  :-0  )


With friends Kyle, Elizabeth and Anne.


Midsummer’s Night Dream



The lovely walk home, under the light of the moon, the rustling palms and Madame Walska’s music emanating from the Blue Garden.



Party over.


*If you have an extra couple of minutes you might find this previous post I wrote about Lotusland and Madame Walska interesting.

Six Husbands & One Very Green Thumb


Well…it’s so nice to chat again! I’ve missed you! I hope you’re loving your summers so far (and winters in other hemipheres)

Only two more days till we greet August.  I hope it’s going to be slow and sweet, don’t you?


xxxx SP




  1. What a wonderful surprise to receive the photos and captions of Lotusland. What a magical evening in a beautiful setting.

  2. Thank you for sharing images from one of the special soirees that take place at Lotusland each year. This one is especially colorful…and you could not look more stunning. Loving your colors of the sunset in your ensemble!
    I visite Lotusland a few years ago, maybe 10 years ago…and I think it’s time to visit again. Such a treasure.

  3. Oh Slim, delicious…maybe more so because it has been soooooo long, but no…. just because it was a visual treat to see you and others looking so spectacular in such a magnificent setting.
    Please treat us to more of your comments and sites soon!

  4. ahhhh . . . thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous, brilliant photos of an amazing event. The visual beauty of it all seriously has me in tears right now . . . so very moving ! Next best thing to being there !!

    • Imagine if you could hear the live opera singer too and then the voice of Madame Walska singing on a crackling old recording as one exited out of the gardens! Tears for sure!! 😉

  5. Love this!! Reminds me of the Huntington Gardens and the beautiful lotus ponds there! The outfits were wonderful, so many vibrant colors, looks like a great time was had by all! Hope you will be able to attend the Chagall exhibit at LACMA!

  6. I appreciate your response. Thk u. We live on the Central Coast and appreciate so much the amazing weather and sea life we enjoy. Leaving for Europe mid September to first visit our daughter doing graduate work at La Sorbonne University and enjoy the Tuileries Gardens and the Luxembourg Gardens among our favorite museums. Then off to Venice and Croatia. Peace to your home. Kathleen

    • That sounds like an amazing trip Kathleen. I have never been to Croatia but our older son has and he loved it. How wonderful for your daughter- Lucky girl!

  7. Love this post. Must have been a magical evening. Your outfit its beautiful and enjoyed all the flower themed clothes. I have to get to Lotusland one day. C Magazine is always a favorite. Thanks for sharing this! Kim

    • Thank you Kim. Seriously, anyone and everyone coming to the Santa Barbara area should make a trip to Lotusland a MUST !

  8. Thanks for sending us back to the previous post on Lotusland. That added so much humor to my day .
    Tell us how her first name was pronounced. Like the country Ghana or Jonna?

  9. Wow, I am not surprised this event inspired you to give us the pleasure of your blog, beautifully curated, your photos give a wonderful feeling of being there… just your cup of tea…
    Lov and miss you,what a wonderful piece to wake up to

  10. LOVE JENNIFER’s hair is it SHORT SHORT.?Her MOTHER looks like she could be her SISTER!
    I ADORE LOTUSLAND!Have been THREE TIMES………..and still my JAW DROPS!Her whole story is FASCINATING!I recall that little Vintage shop in Montecito still has some of her jewelry as well………
    THANK YOU for the LOVELY TOUR and YOU get MORE ELEGANT as the YEARS TREK ON!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you La Contessa ! No, Jennifer’s hair is not short short, though I think that would look absolutely fabulous on her!

  11. Luv Lotusland! Spent Mother’s day there with my two girl babies, (who know my passion for this place)……good to see you looking so saucy and spectacular! Happy Summer xo

  12. Magical is definitely the word. Lotusland is so unique. I don’t live in California but based on your original post about it, we added it to our list when we took a girls’ trip to Santa Barbara a few years ago. It truly is beautiful and so interesting. {We also toured charming Rose Story Farm while there.} Loved seeing the garden as a backdrop to all the beautiful fashion at the party. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Sorry, I’ll have to finish this later…….can’t seem to get past the 2nd pic. You know, the one of Nacho!! My goodness…………

  14. Glad to see you posting again! It is also good to see pictures of Lotus flowers, no one talks about them any more.

  15. Such a lovely evening,
    Thank you so much for your compliments, we feel so flattered 🙂

    Tom Rabolli from New York (in the flower suit) is wearing JayKos and is part of the designer duo of JayKos

    And I Lisa Bassler, Makeup Artist in Montecito am wearing Dolce Gabbana.
    We are very passionate about fashion, colors and exotic fabrics, like Ganna Walska, the enemy of the usual …
    love, Lisa 🙂

  16. Didn’t realize you were living some blonde life! Love it. I’ll keep my thoughts on men’s floral suits to myself… 🙂 thanks for the photos!

Would love to hear from you!