The Fellows Enjoy an August Moon Dinner Party

On August 21, 2021, the Robinson Fellows dined under the moon and stars, reminiscent of Virginia’s annual August Moon parties, on the Great Lawn at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Guests wandered the gardens sipping Cartier champagne and a signature cocktail, the Virginia. The tables were dripping with dahlias of every color from our very own cutting garden. Sean Murphy, son of the famed owner of Jimmy’s restaurant, catered a splendid dinner

The Fellows Tour Three Private Gardens in Santa Barbara

On July 14, 2021, the Fellows of the Virginia Robinson Gardens visited stunning gardens in Santa Barbara. The first garden belonged to George Schoellkopf. (The Fellows toured George’s Connecticut garden, Hollister House, in June 2019.) George’s Summerland garden is perched on the brow of a high hill and was begun a little over twenty years ago; it is laid out in several distinct sections, ranging from formal areas near the house to more naturalistic areas further afield. The garden is Mediterranean in spirit with mostly drought-tolerant plants and no lawn. A new guest house and swimming pool are nearing completion and will define an important new garden area.

The Fellows Visit the Kamins Gardens

In a stunning amalgam of old and new, the Kamins Gardens represents the best of both worlds: the preservation of the landmarked Helms Estate and the creation of entirely original gardens & buildings that blend seamlessly. Angel Members Dorothy and Phil Kamins opened their masterpiece to the VRG Fellows on Father’s Day weekend, a magnificent gift on a spectacular day. From the colorful begonia beds that greeted guests at the entrance, to the rose garden in full bloom, through the formal fountains and parterres to the newest woodland area with its airstream and lodge, it was a treat for the senses. And the inventive canapes by Kais (European Caterers) allowed guests to taste the season, from delightful figs to strawberry shortcake bites. Photos at wonderful settings – the Chinese Pavilion, the birdcage orchid house, the Malibu Tiled Courtyard – enhanced the memories, as well as Kais’ incredible cookies to go. A June treat to remember

VRG Fellows Trip to Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

On March 2-5, 2020, the Fellows members of Robinson Gardens explored the architecture and gardens of Scottsdale and Phoenix.  The Arizona Biltmore Hotel was our base for the duration of our stay. The architect of record is Arthur Chase McArthur, who with his brother Charles McArthur, opened the hotel in 1929.

Arthur had been a draftsman under Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW), and FLW was the design consultant on the project. We met in the hotel lobby. The in-house historian led us on an architectural tour of the hotel, which ended in the “Mystery Room.” We learned that this room previously … Read More

‘Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again’

We kicked off the new decade with a Robinson Gardens Fellows special program at The Broad museum.  It was a great beginning. On January 8, we took a guided tour of the special exhibition: ‘Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again.’ We learned about the background and remarkable work of Shirin Neshat. Unlike many other contemporary artists on display at The Broad and elsewhere, many of us didn’t know much about Neshat. Her work focuses on what it’s like to be an Iranian woman, and she expresses her views with her amazing photographs and videos.

Neshat was born in … Read More

A Spellbinding Account of Our Fascinating Area by Jeff Hyland, Cultural and Architectural Historian

As expected from the accomplished Jeanne Anderson, the Fellows had another brilliant event. On December 7th, 2019, in the afternoon, the Fellows mingled with each other and tasted an excellent selection of appetizers and sweets, in addition to having the honor of attending a fabulous presentation on Legendary Estates of Bel Air by Jeff Hyland. Jeff has been a long-time supporter not only of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, but also of the history of the many great estates throughout Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills. His books are filled with wonderful stories from the many amazing people who have … Read More

Fellows Visit to “Nineteen Nineteen,” the Centennial Exhibition at the Huntington Library

Curator James Glisson gave a very informative and fascinating lecture to the Fellows of Robinson Gardens on the exhibition, also curated by Jennifer A. Watts, “Nineteen Nineteen” at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens on October 29, 2019. This major exhibition of more than 250 objects celebrates the Huntington Centennial, as the museum was founded in 1919. James said, “The Huntington houses 11 million items. With a few exceptions, the show exhibits items that were acquired, exhibited, made, copyrighted, or altered in 1919.”

Loosely organized into five sections depicting themes of Fight, Return, Map, Move, and Build, … Read More

Exploring Extraordinary Private Gardens of Northwest Connecticut

Discovering great gardens is an adventure. Touring a garden with like-minded friends brings pleasure to the mind and five senses that is comparable to very few of life's other experiences. This was the case as a group of Fellows members of the Virginia Robinson Gardens spent three days touring nine world-class private gardens in the general vicinity of Litchfield, Connecticut.

The house and garden of renowned interior designer Bunny Williams was the start of our journey of learning.  It was here that we truly viewed the garden as a highly individualized artistic expression. This very New England white clapboard house … Read More

A Magical Evening at the Fellows Thank You Dinner

Over 75 guests attended the annual Fellows Thank You Dinner at the Virginia Robinson Gardens on June 8, 2019. Lush from the winter rains, the Gardens provided for a romantic and resplendent setting. It was such a magical evening that the party ended one hour later than scheduled. This celebration is held in appreciation of the Fellows’ generous support of the restoration and preservation of Robinson Gardens and the Children’s Program. It is also an occasion to honor our most generous donors. Their contributions are memorialized on the Donor Tree, a wrought iron ornamental tree whose leaves are etched with … Read More

Enchanted Visit to Huguette Clark’s Bellosguardo

For so long, in fact, long after childhood for many, 1407 East Cabrillo Blvd was secretive. A sedately designed entrance gate – not redolent of the overly ornate wrought iron gate of the period announcing wealth – blocked public access to a driveway carved into a fast rising edge of the cliff of a Continent, where 3 Elements meet: Land, Air and Water. This magical point overlooks the wide Santa Barbara sandy beach, yet bore mystery in quiet elegance. Was it a home? An Institution? What was up there? Whatever and whomever, it was beautifully sited, and Lucky were those … Read More

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