A Special Day at the VRG Membership Luncheon

New Members from left to right: Meg Ostrow, Mary Donkersloot, Kirith Prady, Juliana Ricks,  Kelley Jackson, Kennon Klein, Roberta White, Andrea Layne, Susan Finkelman, Melanie Lock, Bernice Balson

It was a happy, sunny day on October 11th, 2019, at the Virginia Robinson Gardens where the Friends warmly welcomed 11 of the 19 new members at the very well-attended annual Membership Luncheon. A terrific addition to the Friends, the new members are: Antonieta Arango, Bernice Balson, Robin Carmichael, Mary Donkersloot, Sharon Gart, Kelley Jackson, Donielle Kaufman, Kennon Klein, Miryam Knutson, Andrea Layne, Melanie Lock, Katherine Marsano, Meg Ostrow, Kirith Prady, Juliana Ricks, Deborah Sawaf, Miranda Schultz, Roberta White, and Yasmine Zodeh.

Co-chairs Luke Anderson, CC Pulitzer-Lemann and Mary Hampson arranged a splendid day for all. Superintendent Timothy Lindsay gave the new members a tour of the Gardens including our new Children’s Wildlife Pond in the King Palm Forest. President Patti Reinstein, Founding President Joan Selwyn and the FRG Committee Chairs gave a presentation on the history of Robinson Gardens and various activities for which one can volunteer.

Out on the back terrace and the Great Lawn, Mary, CC and Luke arranged beautiful tables with centerpieces artfully composed of white roses, hydrangeas, avocados, limes and greenery. Even the napkins were folded to look like roses with petals! A vase filled with charming, colorful flower pens added a note of whimsy to the centerpieces and were given as party favors to the guests.

Joe Monteferante regaled the Friends with a delicious menu of three different salads ranging from artichoke and wild rice to hearts of palm and snap peas to asparagus, avocado, and orange slices. Chardonnay poached chicken and tomato and ginger poached salmon were the entrées served while the lemon sorbet and chocolate cake with candied orange peels were a hit with the guests.

Our wonderful and gracious President Patti Reinstein gave a welcoming speech to the members, saying, “Your work is so important to us as volunteers, and as Audrey Hepburn once said, ‘As we get a little older, we see that we have two hands — one is for helping ourselves and the other for helping others.’ My grandson said, ‘Volunteering is for free?’ I said, ‘To be a volunteer means we don’t get paid any money. It doesn’t mean that we are worthless; it means that we are priceless!’ I am deeply appreciative of all the work that you do. It is amazing. Thank you!”

The new members were given a Ted Baker canvas tote, filled with elegant Cartier stationery, a lovely paisley makeup bag from Etro and a New Members Handbook. The latter is a tour de force — a fantastic and invaluable resource on anything one would want to know about the Virginia Robinson Gardens, the Friends, programs, committees, events, people to contact and much more. Compiled and written by the Membership Committee (Chair Betty Goldstein, Jeanne Anderson, Rachel Ault, Patti Reinstein, Lara Roman, Kerstin Royce, Joan Selwyn, Elaine Stein, Clare Wagner, and April Walton) along with Tim Lindsay, Lynda Curland, Alenoosh Davoodian, and edited by Evie Carlson, the handbook is a labor of love.

Thank you to our wonderful co-chairs and hardworking Membership Committee for an amazing day and a superlative party that was so fun and joyful for all!

Post and photos by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member



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