Expert Brandon Tam Gives a Talk on Orchids

On February 22, 2023, several people gathered in the Pool Pavilion at The Virginia Robinson Gardens to hear Brandon Tam give a talk on orchids. Brandon is the Orchid Collection Specialist at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. He started at the Huntington at age 16 while pursuing and earning a bachelor’s degree in plant science from the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona

A Stellar Class on Growing Roses

On January 21, 2023, Superintendent Emeritus Tim Lindsay brought together an enthusiastic group of rose lovers to learn more about how to plant, prune, and care for roses. We met in the Display Rose Garden next to the Pool Pavilion at the Virginia Robinson Gardens on a perfect sunny Saturday morning between the rains to gain more subtle insights on how to approach rose gardening

A Presentation on Workhorse Roses for Southern California Gardens by Tom Carruth

After retiring from a very successful career as a hybridizer with Weeks Wholesale Rose Grower, Tom Carruth was hired by the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens as the E. L. & Ruth B. Shannon Curator of the Rose Collections. Tom has created over 150 hybrids and is the recipient of 11 All-America Rose Selections (AARS). And in 2011, he was awarded the Luther Burbank Award for extraordinary achievement in the field of plant breeding by the American Horticultural Society. Tom mentioned that his love for plants began at a very young age. When he was 11 years old, he was selling Burpee Seeds and saved enough money to buy a collection of nine roses from a mail order nursery.  After high school, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in plant breeding from Texas A&M

Holiday Fun at the Wreath Making Workshop

On a festively brisk late November morning, “Friend” Jelena Trifunovic of Viola Florals held a Holiday Wreath Making Workshop on the VRG tennis court.   Eleven members were treated to their own table pre-set with branches of cedar, noble fir, silver fir, magnolia leaves, pinecones, in addition to a paddle of wire and a wire wreath frame. For the finishing touches, there was a separate table of accouterments which included cinnamon sticks, dried orange and apple slices, pinecones in various styles complemented by ribbons in different colors, textures, and prints.  To complement the workshop, Viola Floral set up a pop-up holiday gift table offering a selection of gift items from female-owned businesses, as well as fresh Viola Floral holiday bouquets

Laura Wyatt Gives a Fascinating Talk on Honeybees

There was a buzz among the members at the Virginia Robinson Gardens because Laura Wyatt was in town to give a talk on honeybees on August 17, 2022. Laura is an apiarist, defined in the dictionary as a person who studies or keeps bees. She is also an environmentalist, a lover of gardens, of nature, and most important, I am proud to say she is my daughter

The Watercolor Botanical Illustration Program at the Virginia Robinson Gardens

It was fate that Tim Lindsay, while visiting England, met and befriended the brother of renowned British botanical artist Anne-Marie Evans. Later as Superintendent of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, he invited Anne-Marie to come to the Gardens to teach botanical watercolor classes, and the rest is history….Tim had the support of Barbara Jaynes and Tania Norris to gather interested pupils, promote the classes, and to host Anne-Marie. That was twenty-two years ago. Due to the pandemic, we could not invite Anne-Marie back for two years, and thus it was extra special for us all to welcome her back this spring to teach at Robinson Gardens

Gingerbread At-Home Decorating House Event Brings Cheer to Participants

We all know December is one of the most festive months. Brilliant baubles bedeck storefronts, the radio (or streaming services) serve up jolly tunes, the colder air (at least by LA standards) is made warmer by the twinkling sound of jingle bells, and people are merrier and brighter! As this palpable cheer fills the world, one of my favorite ways to partake is to decorate a gingerbread house! That is why I am so happy that, for the second year in a row, so many people purchased gingerbread houses and candy kits in support of the Friends of Robinson Gardens. This year, participants were once again treated to a spectacular, pre-assembled gingerbread house made by local bakery Tutto Bene, delivered with royal icing, figurines of trees, sleighs, Santa, snowmen, and more for their gingerbread house gardens, and deluxe candy kits. I’d like to think that these kits are a gift for everyone – they help raise necessary funds for the Virginia Robinson Gardens while bringing sweetness into the homes of those who take part

Wreath Making Workshop at VRG Enraptures Participants

“The wreath is to a door as eyebrows are to one’s face” ~ Jelena Trifunovic of Viola Floral On December 7, 2021, twelve Friends gathered in the ever-beautiful Virginia Robinson Gardens Pool Pavilion to craft holiday wreaths under the spell and guidance of the effervescent Friend Jelena Trifunovic of Viola Floral, assisted by fellow Friend Katie Marsano, who is also a Japanese Sogetsu Ikebana instructor. Jelena inspired us to be “in the flow” of creating our wreaths as we might a holiday salad, choosing our greens from her buffet table of evergreen, magnolia, and eucalyptus sprays. She demonstrated how to wire them in bunches, swirling clockwise around the heavy wire wreath form as we worked, encouraging us to embrace the process, and be in the zone as we worked. I felt bliss seeping in, as time stood still.

Holiday Wreath Making Workshop

On December 3, 2020, the Friends of Robinson Gardens hosted a holiday wreath making class for our members. There were participants from the sold out in-person event at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, as well as members participating online. The workshop was taught by the talented, world renowned florist Ines Garstecki of Flowermaid, who is a past Garden Tour floral designer. (Visit Ines’ website at Each guest was provided a floral kit of evergreens, holiday ribbon, dried fruits, cinnamon sticks, and exotic grasses to make a unique and long lasting wreath to survive the holiday season. After a long Covid shut in, it was a happy time to spend time with friends and see some familiar faces. VRG is hoping to bring our members more Covid safe in-person and online classes in 2021. Check out the creations by our members from both in-person and online

Rediscover the Robust Fragrance and Allure of Roses from a By-Gone Era

Friends of Robinson Gardens
Tim Lindsay – “Rediscover the Robust Fragrance and
Allure of Roses from a By-Gone Era”
Saturday, January 18, 2020


Garden Class with Tim Lindsay
Saturday, January 18, 2020
11:00 pm to 2:30 pm

“Rediscover the Robust Fragrance and Allure of Roses from a By-Gone Era”

Roses play a significant role in World History, rose cultivation began over 5,000 years ago, most likely in China. For over 1,000 years, roses arrived in western Europe via The Silk Road. In Rome, they were used as confetti at celebration, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. … Read More

1 2