Celebrating HALS…Three Years and 30 Volunteers

On a beautiful, warm, and sunny Saturday, November 11, 2023, a celebratory brunch was held in our Pool Pavilion to honor the team whose dedication led to the completion of the HALS project at The Virginia Robinson Gardens. Nearly all of us have heard the term “HALS” talked about over the past couple of years, but very few of us really understood what it was all about. HALS is an acronym that stands for Historic American Landscapes Survey.  During the last few decades, the concept of historic preservation has expanded from beyond preserving a single building or urban district to including the historic landscape that provides the setting and context for the property to show the heritage of our nation’s development

EDEN features The Virginia Robinson Gardens!

Eden is the quarterly journal of the California Garden & Landscape History Society (CGLHS). The journal features articles on California’s cultural landscapes, gardens and flora, garden history, landscape architecture, garden design, and local and regional preservation efforts. CGLHS is a nonprofit membership organization devoted to celebrating the beauty and diversity of California's historic gardens and landscapes

HALS Awarded the Prestigious California Preservation Design Award!

The Friends-sponsored HALS Project, led by Friends member and landscape architect Lisa Gimmy and the liaison for the Southern California chapter for HALS Alison Terry and their terrific team, has been awarded the 2023 California Preservation Design Award! The prestigious California Preservation Design Awards honor people deserving of special recognition for their outstanding preservation efforts. The winners are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and history, as well as renowned architecture critics and journalists

How a Department Store Heiress Turned Her Historic Beverly Hills Estate Into a Must-see Public Garden and Home Tour

By Deborah Belgum The famed Robinson Department store may be long gone, but the family’s legacy lives on in a six-acre Beverly Hills estate in California that has been open to the public for 45 years. Known as the Virginia Robinson Gardens, the compound was built in 1911 by Harry and Virginia Robinson, who wed in 1903 and took a long honeymoon to Europe, India and Kashmir, where the newlyweds collected merchandise for the family department store and themselves. Returning to Los Angeles, California, they were driving one day to the new Los Angeles Country Club when they got lost and ended up on a barren hilltop. What they saw was a view of the Santa Monica Mountains on one side and, on the other side, the plains below that would become the incorporated city of Beverly Hills in 1914

In Memory of Jeff Hyland

Jeff Hyland, a long-time generous supporter of the Virginia Robinson Gardens and President of Hilton and Hyland, a real estate firm in Beverly Hills, sadly passed away on February 16, 2022. He generously gave of his time and resources to benefit Robinson Gardens. Jeff assisted in securing private gardens for our annual Garden Tour fundraiser and donated a historic city map of Beverly Hills that shows the Robinson estate. In addition, he created our stunning logo with the image of the Sumner Hunt-designed Pool Pavilion at Robinson Gardens. Jeff and his wife Lori were so inspired by the hens for the Children's Science Program in the Kitchen Garden that they raised a brood of their own on their ranch!

It’s A Duesy…

Sometimes the lives of other people sound and feel like fiction. The best lives always do. Imagine going out to your garage and finding a Duesenberg. Now imagine finding two Duesenbergs. Wait, try to imagine your choice of three Duesenbergs. If you were Virginia and Harry Robinson, circa 1930 in Beverly Hills, that was your garage and your life, not fiction but automotive royalty. At the turn of the twentieth century Los Angeles was booming. The population was exploding and the city was rapidly expanding. Many of the early pioneers and visionaries found opportunity in this young city and, at the same time, created personal wealth. Virginia and Harry Robinson were among those pioneers, but they also raised the bar for a standard of grace and elegance in a city on the edge of the wild west. As owners of the famous Robinsons Department store in Beverly Hills, they became the style and tastemakers for many generations of Angelinos

Fun & Games at the Virginia Robinson Gardens

It’s early afternoon, and you’re sliding out of your tennis outfit in what Virginia calls the Playhouse (the Pool Pavilion). You think back to a few moments ago on the Robinsons' tennis court and silently reprimand yourself for forgetting to practice your backhand more. Charlie (referring, of course, to Charlie Chaplin), was much better than you remembered. Shrugging, you slip on your lunch attire (your swimsuit lay next to you ready for use this afternoon) and head out for a delicious luncheon overlooking the tennis court.

This scenario might sound like a complete fantasy, but it read like a typical … Read More

Friends of Robinson Gardens Star Pets

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France, French Poet

Harry and Virginia Robinson were both animal lovers for their entire lives. Their 16 acre estate made the perfect home for their menagerie of pets who could roam freely and enjoy the grounds. Stories of the many pets who have lived at 1008 Elden Way are legendary at Robinson Gardens.

Harry and Virginia always had several dogs at one time. Some were purebred while others were mixed breeds. One of their most beloved pets was a black French Poodle named “Bravo.” There … Read More

Virginia Robinson Set the Style in Beverly Hills

Part 1: Virginia Forms her Style in Early Los Angeles

Virginia Robinson came to this area as a small child. Because Los Angeles was at a pivotal growth moment ready to burst into a bustling city, she had a tremendous opportunity to help shape the development of this nascent area into a major metropolis with a rich cultural climate. What she did growing up was reported frequently in the newspaper in large part because of her family’s position in the community. Virginia’s two most important early influences were her father, Nathanial Dryden, and her uncle, Leslie Brand. Her father was an architectural designer and builder who had a significant influence on her sense of style. Her uncle, a colorful man who gained great success in his many business pursuits and much notoriety for his glamorous lifestyle, played an influential role in her own business interests as well as her love of living grandly.

VRG Virtual Tours: Garden Tour 2020

Virtual Garden Tour 2020

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to hold our annual Garden Tour & Showcase Estate this past spring. While it was heartbreaking to have to postpone one of our largest events and fundraisers of the year, we were given the opportunity to get creative and bring you all something special in its place. Hosted by Friend Maralee Beck, join David Silverman of LA House Histories and Robinson Gardens' Superintendent Timothy Lindsay for a lecture on the garden feature comparisons at Mille Fleur and the Goetz house, both former VRG Garden Tour gardens. While David gives … Read More

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