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

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

Virginia Robinson’s Columbia Electric Car

Virginia Robinson bought her new car in 1906. The Los Angeles Times heralded the event on April 8 describing the car as, “…a twenty-four-cylinder Columbia Stanhope-Victoria…”. Since there was no model with that name at the time, it was likely to have been an extremely popular model among the East Coast society ladies, a “Victoria-Phaeton.” This model of the Columbia electric cars was considered an expensive automobile. People could purchase the much more affordable gasoline internal combustion engine cars as well. Nonetheless, the electric cars had many advantages over the gasoline version. Electric cars were odorless, quiet and simple to … Read More

The Virginia Robinson Gardens is Getting its Ducks in a Row

Photo by Joshua Johnston

Updates on the Ducks and Their New Home in the Wildlife Pond

Congratulations to all who have assisted in the creation of the Virginia Robinson Gardens’ “Wildlife Habitat,” conceived and designed by Superintendent Timothy Lindsay. The Gardens have recently been honored with the designation by the National Wildlife Federation as an official “Certified Wildlife Habitat Site. This certifies that Robinson Gardens will provide a home for all the wild creatures that make our lives whole!

The Gardens’ new addition will bring all of us, both young and old, years of enjoyment and educational opportunities.… Read More

Tim Lindsay and the History of the Virginia Robinson Gardens

On January 16, 2020, our amazing Superintendent Timothy Lindsay gave a presentation on the rich history of Virginia Robinson Gardens.  Before the talk, the guests mingled with each other while enjoying scrumptious tea sandwiches and desserts in the Pool Pavilion. Betty Goldstein, Chair of the Membership Committee who organized this special event, pointed out that the miniature chocolate muffins are from one of the recipes Virginia used for entertaining. The recipe came from the Ideal Cookery Book by M.A. Fairclough, published in 1911.  (Betty added that the muffins need a little more flavor. Elaine Stein, who is also on the … Read More

Virginia and Harry Robinson’s Birdcage Automaton

A unique toy in Virginia and Harry Robinson’s home is a gilt-metal 19th century birdcage which contains four taxidermied iridescent hummingbirds who sit on branches and move their heads while they sing. Virginia and Harry must have thought that the automaton was sufficiently entertaining as it still occupies a place of honor in their home. This toy for the well-appointed home reflects the Robinsons’ elevated social placement in Los Angeles’ cultural hierarchy. Harry and Virginia’s pedigrees show that both came from important families who moved to Los Angeles and left their mark on their nascent community.

The automaton reflects Virginia … Read More

In Memory of Nancy Thompson Call, Niece of Virginia Robinson

On Saturday, August 17, 2019, at Virginia Robinson Gardens, a memorial was held for Virginia Robinson’s niece, Nancy Thompson. Nancy, a native of Beverly Hills, grew up close to Virginia, up on Benedict Canyon on another 13-acre parcel of land; most special to Nancy were her horses. On occasion, she was known to ride one of her horses to see her Aunt Gege.

Virginia and Nancy were both descendants of Leslie Brand of Brand Library in Glendale where Nancy will rest. The same architect designed Brand Library as well as Virginia Robinson’s house. He was Virginia’s father, Nathaniel Dryden.

Nancy … Read More

The Magnificent Naked Coral Tree at Virginia Robinson Gardens

This image of the historic Naked Coral Tree (Eyrathina caffra) was captured this foggy morning, on April 2, 2019 at dawn. It grows on a knoll in the Italian Terrace Garden. This species of tree is native to South Africa.  About 75 years ago, the seed was collected by the Robinsons while on one of their many plant expeditions. Now fully mature and in full bloom, it commands attention. It is named after the flower color and shape which resembles red coral found in the Indian Ocean. Because it flowers when there are no leaves present, it was named … Read More

Palm Forest Restoration

The Friends of Robinson Gardens set an ambitious goal of raising $120,000 for the restoration of the Palm Forest.  It was to be accomplished over two years.  The Executive Committee is most pleased to announce that the goal has been met and exceeded.  Through individual donations, the pledge drives at the 2017 and 2018 Patron Galas and at Tim Lindsay’s Anniversary luncheon, $130,000 has been raised! We are deeply grateful to all of you who donated funds to support this project. You helped maintain the “world class” status that the King Palm Forest has enjoyed, since its inception in the … Read More

Library Restoration

The Restoration of the Library at Virginia Robinson Gardens

The library at Virginia Robinson Gardens has recently been beautifully restored. We are happy to share the following interview with you with Superintendent Timothy Lindsay:

1.  Why did you decide to renovate Mrs. Robinson’s library?

The library was painted about 20 years ago. We were never satisfied that the colors were a good match to the historic hues of the library that Mrs. Robinson had originally painted.

2.  What work was done to bring it back to its former glory?

The detective work began by methodically removing layers of paint, which … Read More

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