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LongHouse Reserve Hosts Luncheon Ceremony For Landscape Awardee

Originally Posted: October 15, 2009

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

Members of the LongHouse Reserve panel discussion. Photos by Douglas Harrington

East Hampton - Last week, on Friday, October 3, the LongHouse Reserve (LHR) bestowed its Landscape Award on Elizabeth Barlow Rogers in a luncheon ceremony at the LongHouse building on the grounds of the reserve in East Hampton. The attendees were treated to a fine lunch and a very interesting panel discussion by numerous horticulture managers and moderated by LHR founder and iconic designer and craft arts advocate Jack Lenor Larsen.

LongHouse Reserve Landscape Award recipient Elizabeth Barlow Rogers.

The luncheon began at 12:30 a.m. with welcoming remarks by LHR Executive Director Matko Tomicicand Barbara Press, chair of the LHR Garden Committee. Once the table was plated, LHR Co-President Dianne Benson, a celebrated horticulturalist in her own right, introduced Larson to resounding applause by the attending fans and supporters.

Early on in his award presentation remarks Larson drew laughs as he reworked some lyrics from the musical "Hello Dolly" in his description of Rogers' career, "It takes a woman all powdered and pink to convince a man to clean out the sink." This was a reference to Rogers' acknowledged reputation as the driving force behind the clean-up of Manhattan's Central Park.

As founder and president of the Central Park Conservancy, Rogers is credited with transforming the historic and vast public space from a neglected and crime ridden park into the treasured and beautiful jewel of the city it is today. Her other contributions to the urban life of New York City includes neighborhood clean-ups and the re-imagination of pocket parks throughout Gotham.

Rogers has authored many books and essays and her encyclopedic "Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History" has became an acknowledged classic. Her awards are numerous including the American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards for Distinguished Service to the Arts, Brooklyn Botanical Garden Better Earth Award and the American Society of Landscape Architects LaGasse Medal. Rogers also founded the Graduate School of Landscape Design at the prestigious Bard College and is the President of the Foundation for Landscape Studies. Previous recipients of the LongHouse Landscape Award have included Dan Kiley, Jacques Wirtz and Frank Cabot.

LongHouse Reserve founder and legendary designer Jack Lenor Larsen.

In accepting her award Rogers conveyed to the audience the story behind her passion for landscape design and the formation of the Central Park Conservancy. She acknowledged the politicians, supporters and volunteers that helped her develop an organization that would eventually become the model for community supported urban park reclamation. She, of course, thanked Larson and his staff for creating the East End nirvana that is the LongHouse Reserve.

After accepting the beautiful Marc Leuthold designed award sculpture, Rogers joined the panel of distinguished landscape conservators, designers and administrators for the discussion that was entitled "What Makes a Garden New?" Along with Rogers and moderator Larson, the panel included Charles A. Birnbaum of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, Patrick Cullina of Friends of the High Line, Todd A. Forrest of the New York Botanical Garden and Clare Sawyers of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. The discussion was lively and enlightening and was followed by a Q&A with the event's attendees.

Attendees listen to Elizabeth Barlow Rogers acceptance remarks.

A magnificent event, albeit on a rainy day, the special guests and supporters reveled not only in the magic that is LongHouse Reserve, but in the company of fellow citizens who share a passion for landscape design and horticulture. Particularly in the persons of Rogers and Larson who have so profoundly enhanced the visual environment in which we co-exist from Manhattan to East Hampton.

For more information about the LongHouse Reserve go to: www.longhouse.org.

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

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