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

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

1 2 3