An Interview with Sunday Taylor, Author of “The Anglophile’s Notebook”

On March 11, 2021, Sunday Taylor, a longtime Friends of Robinson Gardens member, gave a fascinating virtual presentation on Zoom about her new novel, The Anglophile’s Notebook. She was interviewed by our lovely past President Patti Reinstein who said, “Her wonderful book is part history, part mystery, part love story and character study. It is also about the love of the Brontës that comes through in her writing.”

The FRoG Semi-Virtual Science Program Delights School Children

The Friends of Robinson Gardens, although socially distanced, has not been idle. As the gardens have been quiet and missing the laughter of children taking the science tours, we decided to take the Science Program to the schools and to the children. Through a newly crafted, Semi-Virtual Program, lovingly called FRoG (Friends of Robinson Gardens Semi Virtual Science Program), we have accomplished that. The first of three units is Nutrition and Healthy Living. This program includes boxes for delivery to each child and the teachers. We have written it to focus on Grades 2-4 in Title One Schools and Group Homes.

Garden Tour Star Kathleen Spiegelman

Each month we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists and interior designers who have participated in our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations. This month, we are featuring interior designer Kathleen Spiegelman. A longtime Friends member, Kathleen’s beautiful Bel Air home has been on Garden Tour, and she has designed many of the rooms and outdoor spaces at Garden Tour over the years. We asked her these five questions:

Message from President Betty Goldstein

Dear Friends, It’s springtime. Red poppies, white yarrow, marigolds, scarlet flax, golden lupine, cosmos in red, white, and pink -- a profusion of color and textures and a delight for the eye and for the senses, the wildflower meadow above is the garden at the entry of the Virginia Robinson estate. This meadow, once a lawn, was transformed into this beautiful field of wildflowers and provides a refuge for the hummingbirds, the sparrows, bees, and butterflies. The earth underneath is teeming with insects and worms that enrich the soil.  This is truly a haven for nature’s wildlife.

Come Into the Garden

With our Mediterranean-style climate in Los Angeles, we have more opportunity than most to explore the natural world and to be creative, surrounding ourselves with nature’s favorite flowers and plants of the season. There is a special kind of joy when one puts their hands-in-the dirt gardening. The result is a happy blend of mental relaxation and creative energy. Our garden star this month is the CAMELLIA, one of nature’s greatest fall gifts. They are the jewels of the shade garden that brighten the winter months with blooms of incredible variation and beauty. Camellias were also one of Virginia Robinson’s favorite flowers. The pink flower pictured here was named after Virginia Robinson at “Nuccio’s” famous camellia nursery.

HALS Volunteers

Written Narrative
Lisa Gimmy, Team Leader, ASLA, Landscape Architect
Kelly Comras, FASLA, Landscape Historian
Steven Keylon, Editor EDEN, Landscape Historian
Nancy Carol Carter, Landscape Historian

Historical Research
Debora Richey, Historian
Christine Franks, Landscape Designer

Historical Photo Research
Kathleen Campbell, VRG Docent
Ana Laura Paiva, UCLA Graduate 2020
Libby Simon, Landscape Designer, Volunteer 2019-20

Sources of Information
Jasmine Munson, ASLA, Landscape Architect

Measured Drawings-Hardscape and Planting
Cal Walsten, Team Leader, ASLA, Disney Imagineering up to 2020
David Dahlke, Hardscape Lead, ASLA, Disney Imagineering up to 2020
Nicole Volpe, Planting Lead, ASLA, Landscape Architect
Elaine Walsten, ASLA, Disney … Read More

The Jewels in the Virginia Robinson Gardens

For over a century, Virginia Robinson's extraordinary gardens have delighted all who stepped across the threshold of her now historic home. The Friends are no strangers to how dazzling the gardens are throughout the year, from the bucolic Rose Garden to the tranquil Australian King Palm Forest to the inspiring Italian Terrace Garden, whose vibrant hues in every shade imaginable entice the eyes and soothe the soul. For Beverly Hills jeweler Douglas Kazanjian, whose mother Virginia has been a Friend of the Gardens for over two decades, the Virginia Robinson Gardens offers an abundance of inspiration. At the 2010 VRG Patron Gala: “Jewels and All that Jazz,” the Friends honored the family. The Kazanjian Foundation, represented by Michael, Virginia, Douglas and Michelle Kazanjian, was the recipient of the “Spirit of Beverly Hills” Award.

Message from President Betty Goldstein

Dear Friends, This month we enter into 2021 filled with great hope and expectations for a good year. Through the many ups and downs of 2020, there were always positive moments from which to draw. This wonderful group of Friends was able to do just that and accomplished so much. The commitment of our membership to the Gardens and to our programs, the Children’s Program, plant sale, and inspirational ikebana lecture, our two fun fundraisers and our videos has been phenomenal. We should not forget our many members who are doing the “behind the scenes” jobs, website, mailings, membership drive, newsletter, and accounting jobs. It is with this incredibly strong and dedicated group that we move forward into this new year.

Reminiscing with Hollywood Legend Julie Newmar

We're ending 2020 with one of the most popular gardens ever featured during our annual Tour. In 2007, the original Catwoman & Tony Award winner Julie Newmar allowed us into her amazing creation for In Her Majesty's Secret Garden, highlighting four secret gardens.

Julie Newmar's work - like herself - has only become more beautiful over the years, combining her passion with the skills of Garden Designer Bradley Bontems. She & Brad have frequented our Garden Tour luncheons - you may have caught a sighting of her! Always a VRG supporter, Miss Newmar was an exceptional & enthusiastic participant during … Read More

Gingerbread House Decorating with Spago’s Executive Pastry Chef Della Gossett

Nothing says holiday cheer quite like the scent of a gingerbread house. For me at least, the warm spices mingled with sugary royal icing is the olfactory equivalent to watching It’s a Wonderful Life. To put it simply, a whiff of a gingerbread house reminds me of everything that is merry and bright about this time of year. So when the opportunity to brainstorm events for VRG came about, my mind immediately jumped to gingerbread house decorating. And thanks to the tireless work of those of us involved, the Friends of Robinson Gardens’ sold out, virtual Gingerbread House Decorating Event took place on the morning of Saturday, December 5th
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