What happened on February 23rd in Studio City? Borgnine

Four Winds Growers presented a lovely display at a classy party to celebrate the life of Ernest Borgnine.  The first annual ‘Ernie Award’ was presented to Sean Penn who was unable to attend, as he was seeing to duties in Haiti.  The award, a lovely globe of blown glass, was received by actor Ken Howard, who gave a touching speech.  Most of the photos taken here are by the very talented Mr. Ken Byes and were done on a fabulous red Nikon that reminds me of a race car.


Iqbal Theba of TV musical "Glee"with blueberries

Iqbal Theba of TV musical “Glee”with blueberries

Gardening chat with Marilu Henner

Gardening chat with Marilu Henner

Ernie Hudson of "Ghostbusters"

Ernie Hudson of “Ghostbusters”

With the masterful Hector Elizando

With the masterful Hector Elizando

With Nancee and Cris Borgnine

With Nancee and Cris Borgnine

Julie Arenal Bryant

Julie Arenal Bryant

Folks Happy to take home the sole fig tree selection: Black Mission fig

Folks Happy to take home the sole fig tree selection: Black Mission fig

Kevin Sorbo of TV "Hercules" fame with Ken Byes

Kevin Sorbo of TV “Hercules” fame with Ken Byes


Lainie Kazan, jazz singer and the unforgettable Mother in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” prepares to take home this beautiful southern highbush blueberry plant.


Nancee Borgnine prepares to present the First Annual Ernie Award


Cris Borgnine enjoys Yosemite Gold mandarins


Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins of “Glee”) shows off his Sunshine Blue Blueberry bush to Esai Morales, urging him to get one.


Esai Morales (“La Bamba”) considers the options and settles on a Variegated Pink Lemon tree, complete with fruit.

Table filled with Ornamental Edibles. Avocado, citrus and olive trees, plus blueberry bushes.

table after

Every last plant found a home that night. A shot of the table toward the end.


Citrus and Olive trees for the stars


Nancee Borgnine honors dad Ernest at Emmy’s Party at the Sportsman’s Lodge, Studio City

I was honored to be invited to participate in sharing Four Winds Growers Dwarf Citrus and other fruit trees today at a party given by Nancee Borgnine in Studio City, CA. This pre-Emmy’s event saw a continuous flow of celebrities from television and theatre, who browsed among select vendors and got ‘free stuff’ (shwag). There were sparkly jeans, amazing hats, fragrant herbs and flowers, Vodka drinks, whimsical plush toys made from recycled sweaters, flameless cigarettes, cushy furniture, non-profit Big Brothers, Big Sisters and many others. Our trees seemed to strike many as novel. Because Four Winds’ Dwarf Clementine mandarin tree had been featured in the April 2012 issue of Oprah! Magazine, we were seen by Nancee, and invited to be there. We brought a very nice Improved Meyer lemon tree to give to Nancee in honor of her dad.

Needless to say, it was a day of anticipation and excitement. I met some wonderful actors and their associates, including Joe Mantegna of “Criminal Minds” , also Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan and Robert Gossett of “The Closer.” It was especially fun meeting Michele Gossett, wife of Robert, as well as other family members of the actors, who enjoy gardening. Cris Borgnine, Nancee’s brother and his family were delightful to talk with. I admired the Aloha shirts that Cris and his little boys were wearing. Cris said that he was wearing one from his dad’s collection that he had worn in “From Here to Eternity”.

The weather was very warm, with some merciful overcast helping cool, but also raising the humidity. To my country bumpkin perceptions, many folks seemed uncomfortably dressed given the weather, (myself especially included).  But stars are stoic, I learned, and they can look ‘cool’ even when it’s not.

All in all I had a ball meeting folks I wouldn’t ordinarily encounter. As for the event itself, I can really appreciate all the coordination that was required, and hat’s off to Nancee and her team for pulling it off with grace and panache!