Annual Fellows Thank You Dinner

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A Lovely Evening Honoring Donors at the Annual Fellows Thank You Dinner

The beguiling, purple bougainvillea and the enchanting wildflower meadows at the entrance of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, and the profuse plantings nestled among the cypresses on the Great Lawn were all in full bloom, conspiring to create a rich and magical setting for the annual Fellows Thank You Dinner on June 16, 2018. This event is held in appreciation of the Fellows’ generous support of the restoration and preservation of Robinson Gardens and the very popular children’s and adult education programs.

Guests mingled on the back terrace while waiters served champagne, fruity cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, enhancing the festive atmosphere. In anticipation of a series of elegant Afternoon Teas, chaired by Adrienne Horwitch, the Fellows were treated to a sneak peek of Virginia’s exquisite china in the Library. With the help of Patti Reinstein and Kerstin Royce, Adrienne arranged the magnificent porcelain, including Mrs. Robinson’s wedding china with great flair and beauty on regal blue tablecloths.

Out on the lawn, the lovely tables were set with Andrey Yun’s stunning floral centerpieces that picked up the peach, yellow, and green colors of the tropical-themed floral tablecloths. Guests dined on a delicious feast catered by the Kitchen for Exploring Foods; burrata salad with pesto and tomatoes, fish, steak, and a scrumptious chocolate caramel tart with hazelnut ice cream, and wines were enjoyed by all.

Our wonderful President Marian Power thanked Adrienne for doing a fabulous job on the china exhibition. She also thanked Tim Lindsay and praised several past Presidents, who were all in attendance, including our founder Joan Selwyn, Maralee Beck, Jeanne Anderson, Claudia Deutsch, Adrienne Horwitch, Ellisa Bregman, Leslie Kavanaugh, and Kerstin Royce. She thanked Patti Reinstein who will be our new President and said, “She is absolutely fabulous!” Marian said, “The biggest thank you we need to give tonight is to Jeanne Anderson.”

Our amazing Jeanne always creates the most wonderful and special events. This past year, the Fellows were very lucky to have the opportunity to see the remarkable and visually enthralling exhibition of “Yayoi Kasuma: Infinity Mirrors” at the Broad Museum, followed by a fabulous lunch at the acclaimed restaurant Otium. The Fellows were also treated to a special curator-led tour at the Huntington Library in San Marino of the show: ”Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin.” The attendees then enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. Capping these wonderful events is always an incredible trip arranged by Jeanne. This year, the Fellows traveled to Napa, where they reveled in glorious private gardens, wonderful wineries, and amazing lunches and dinners. The Fellows have also gone on extraordinary trips to New Orleans and Newport, Rhode Island in years past.

Marian added that tonight is also a special night for our Donor Tree patrons. The Friends has honored its most generous donors by memorializing their contributions on this wrought iron ornamental tree on the Back Terrace of the house. Donors’ names are etched on its gold, silver, and copper leaves. Marian said that this past year, we have added 17 new leaves, eliciting many oohs and aahs from the audience.

Furthermore, each Fellow received a scroll with the donors’ names and their respective levels of contributions. The roll was adorned by a delicate and uplifting photograph, taken by Josh Johnston, of a ginkgo tree that graces the Italian Garden. Marian explained on the scroll that this ancient tree with its elegant leaves, co-existing with the dinosaurs, was thought to be extinct. However, a grove of ginkgo trees was found in an obscure valley in China in the early 20th century. Miraculously, Virginia had the foresight and love of gardens to plant the seeds collected from this valley. The gingko became her favorite tree!

Jeanne reminded everyone to save the date for the Friends of Robinson Gardens Patron Gala which will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2018. The theme for this wonderful soiree is “Mrs. Robinson’s Supper Club,” and will feature cocktails, dinner and entertainment. Harking back to the golden age of supper clubs from the 1930s and 1940s, these Art Deco palaces such as the Rainbow Room, El Morocco and Copacabana were frequented by Hollywood royalty and high society. The Friends will be proud to honor Leslie Kavanaugh and Syd Leibovitch at this event.

Jeanne thanked everyone for being a Fellow and for all the wonderful deeds they have accomplished for the Gardens. Thanks to their generous support, “Robinson Gardens is looking so beautiful.” Jeanne said she had some fantastic events planned for the Fellows, and she concluded by thanking Marian for being such a fabulous President.

If you haven’t already done so, consider upgrading your membership to the Fellows level to enjoy these exclusive and extraordinary special events! You can upgrade here: bit.ly/VRGmembership.

Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member

Photos by Joshua Johnston, Diane Jenkins and Linda Meadows

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