Just Above Sunset
May 21, 2006 - Hollywood Nymphéas

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Lotus, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

From The Independent (UK), May 17, 2006, this from Marina Bradbury in Paris –


Claude Monet's water lilies, among the most celebrated paintings of the Impressionist movement, will be revealed in their original glory when the Orangerie museum in the Paris Tuileries gardens reopens today. Created especially for the museum, the monumental work, entitled Nymphéas, has been hidden from the public eye for six years, during extensive renovations. The giant frieze, made up of eight separate paintings which together stretch almost 600 feet around the gallery, has not been seen in the way the artist intended for more than 40 years.


There are no Monet water lilies here, and our default Giverny will have to be Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, at the north end of Rodeo Drive. just across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Polo Lounge and all that. The visuals are similar, except the water lilies we get floating here are a slightly different subspecies of what Monet was painting, lotus blossoms, and the reflections in the water are, here, of palm trees. It'll do. Air France has two or three flights a day from LAX to Paris, non-stop, but these lotus pools are just a short drive down Sunset Boulevard.

What you're looking at, in terms of scientific classification -

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Proteales
Family: Nelumbonaceae
Genus: Nelumbo
Species: N. nucifera
Binomial name - Nelumbo nucifera



Nelumbo nucifera is known by a number of common names, including Sacred Lotus, Red Lotus, Indian Lotus Bean of India and Sacred Water-lily. Botanically, Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is sometimes known by its former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.), or Nymphaea nelumbo. This plant is an aquatic perennial. In ancient times it was common along the banks of the River Nile in Egypt along with the closely related Sacred Blue Lotus of the Nile (Nymphaea caerulea); and the flowers, fruit and sepals of both were widely depicted as architectural motifs where sacred images were called for. The Pharoic Egyptians venerated the Lotus and used it in worship. From Egypt it was carried to Assyria and became widely planted throughout Persia, India and China. It may also have been locally indigenous throughout Indo-China but there is doubt about this. In 1787 it was first brought into horticulture in Western Europe as a stove-house water-lily under the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks and can be seen in modern botanical garden collections where heating is provided. Today it is rare or extinct in the wild in Africa but widely naturalized in southern Asia and Australia, where it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. It is the National Flower of India.


"One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water." - Bhagavad Gita 5.10

Ironically, the lotus pools are in the same little park where, on April 7, 1998, George Michael (who sang with the quite forgettable group Wham!) was arrested for performing a lewd act in front of an undercover Beverly Hills cop in the park's public restrooms, a cute little stucco structure with a red tile roof.

Lotus, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

Lotus, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

Lotus, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

Lotus, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

Lotus, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

Palms, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset

Further notes on the park here, saying you should not get this park confused with Will Rogers State Historic Park, six miles west and also on Sunset, Will Rodgers' old ranch. This one is five acres, and that one is enormous, with polo fields you might have seen in "Pretty Woman" and other films. The little park with the lotus pools was a five-acre gift from the Beverly Hills Hotel, in 1915, so the land that became the City of Beverly Hills' first park had been part of the hotel's front lawn. Will Rodgers lived a block away and in the mid-twenties, before he moved down the road to his ranch, he was, informally, the honorary mayor of Beverly Hills. Everybody liked him. After he died the city named this small park after him, even though he had moved out in 1927. No hard feelings.

Trivia from the link –


Actor Michael Caine tells of seeing John Wayne land in a helicopter in this park, then watching the Duke head across the street to the Beverly Hills Hotel - while wearing his cowboy duds! (Caine was surprised that John Wayne recognized him, but apparently he had just seen Caine's hit movie, "Alfie.")

This is the park where rock singer Rod Stewart proposed to his wife, model Rachel Hunter back in 1990. They were later married at the nearby Good Shepherd Church.


Good Shepherd is six blocks south and the last time it was in the news was the Frank Sinatra funeral there. Whatever. It doesn't matter.

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  

There is a copyright notice at the bottom of this page, of course.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED or AF Nikor 70-300 mm telephoto.

They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0
The original large-format raw files are available upon request.


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

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