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AIDs Dinner in Garden

Anne Jaeger Column

Portland Tribune

Our House Gardens

August 14, 2002


In my book, gardening is not a prerequisite for friendship.  Although it helps.  Obviously, a lot of people I know don’t garden.  Michael was one.  He didn’t have much time for gardening.  Michael was hairdresser to the stars.  Arlene Schnitzer, Eileen Ford (Ford Modeling Agency), Faye Duniway to name a few and he always suspected he contracted AIDS from his tryst with Freddy Mercury the lead singer of Queen.  The last time I saw Michael he was directing traffic, pointing hither and yon as movers hauled around all of his expensive French antique furniture in his final home at Our House.  Maybe you’ve heard of Our House on Southeast Alder?  It’s the only organization of its kind in all of Oregon and Southwest Washington.   The angels there give 24 hour care to people dying of AIDS, their families and friends. It’s beautiful, clean and dignified. This years fundraiser for Our House would surely get ‘two snaps up’ from Michael.  Heck, nobody threw a party like Michael.  (He once put together a catered event for 300 of his closest friends in the Benson Hotel Ballroom and he didn’t even show up.   The party, held posthumously, was one of his best!)  Anyway, I digress….  Our House begins its signature event tomorrow.  A few of the most fabulous gardeners in and around Portland will feed you gourmet meals in their landscape as part of ‘Dinner at My House for Our House’.  All the money goes to the non-profit and you get a remarkable dinner in one of 12 gardens you would otherwise never see.  For instance, take the Secret Garden of David Hopkins and Rick Younge. Their garden of all white flowers is tucked away in Northwest Portland behind a grand Victorian.   While you dine in candlelight on gourmet faire made by Portland’s White House Bed and Breakfast, you are intoxicated by the sweet smell of jasmine and big Casa Blanca lilies.  Ricks garden was recently featured in one of Better Homes and Gardens magazines… so you know it’s a “phenom”.  But wait… listen to just a couple of the other choices;  how ‘bout dining poolside with former Governor Barbara Roberts or have Cajun food and Pat O’Brien’s Original Hurricane cocktails while a live jazz band blows the lid off a garden party in Alameda?  Not too shabby, huh? So, it is pretty darn easy to find something you’d pine for with 12 garden parties on the list and more than 80 choices in the complete dinner series.   Needless to say, ‘Dinner at My House for Our House’ is one benefit we can all benefit from.  Yes, Michael would have loved it. ‘Dinner at My House for Our House.”