And after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it. Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. ~ Katherine Mansfield
March heralds the beginning of spring and is always an exciting month for garden lovers. It is also the month when we start seeing banners all around town for the annual Robinson Gardens Tour. This year’s tour is happening on May 20 and the theme is “Legendary Beverly Hills.” As always this event is one of the most eagerly anticipated by gardeners and garden lovers alike. Attendees get the opportunity to tour some of the most spectacular private gardens in Los Angeles as well as see the historic house that belonged to Harry and Virginia Robinson built in 1911. For this event the house is decorated by some of the top florists and decorators in Los Angeles. It is that rare occasion that combines a Garden Tour and Showcase Design House in one event.
The icing on the cake is an elegant garden party that occurs on the Great Lawn at the Robinson estate. It includes a delicious lunch, stylish fashion show and fabulous boutique. Everyone gets dressed up for this al fresco event and enjoys the flowers, fresh air, delectable food and festive atmosphere. One of the highlights of the catered lunch is the dessert station, which always features the most luscious coconut cake. It’s one of the many traditions that guests look forward to each year. Another is Peach Fuzz, a delicious pink and icy cocktail that will quench your thirst on the warmest day.
Recently I talked to a few friends who are working on the big event and learned about some very special features of this year’s Garden Tour. One of them is the logo, which features a vintage picture of a fashionable woman in a garden hat. The image includes the famous banana leaf pattern created by Don Loper, a prominent Beverly Hills clothing designer. It is the same banana leaf that appears in the Polo Lounge at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. Since the theme of this year’s tour is Legendary Beverly Hills, it seems appropriate to echo the famous pattern of one of the world’s most legendary hotels. The lovely logo harks back to the gracious past when garden parties were a common occurrence.
A very popular feature at each Garden Tour is the Concierge Level. This VIP treatment makes for a very smooth and effortless day. When guests buy tickets at the Concierge Level, they tour the private gardens in a small motor coach. They also enjoy a plated lunch in a private special location on the Great Lawn at the Gardens. This little oasis is always decorated by a talented florist and designer. Everyone is very excited that this year Mindy Weiss, a popular Los Angeles party planner, will be decorating the Concierge area and table. No doubt it will be a thing of beauty.
One of the biggest jobs for the Garden Tour committee is the selection of florists and interior designers who decorate each room of the Robinson House. I was told that the selection is almost complete. This is very good news since the Garden Tour is the only day of the year when the house is open to the public and guests can see the entire house in all of its splendor. If you love flowers, you will be in heaven. Each year the florists and designers who participate in this event seem to outdo themselves. They create arrangements and design elements that lend an air of beauty, magic and enchantment to each room of the house. I always advise my friends to take their time when they walk through the house so they can absorb all the beauty these designers create. I also suggest bringing a camera, as they will want to rush home and try to recreate what they see.
It’s comforting to know that the planning for the big event is well under way and in very capable hands. I look forward to learning more in the weeks to come. Now that it’s March and spring is almost here we can all look forward to celebrating the season with fellow garden-lovers on May 20 at the beautiful Robinson estate. The house will be sparkling and the gardens will be blooming. It truly is the garden party of the year!
Post by Sunday Taylor
Friends of Robinson Gardens
Sunday Taylor writes the lifestyle/literary blog “Ciao Domenica” at ciaodomenica.blogspot.com