Holiday Tea for Prospective Members and their Sponsors at VRG

It was a cold and wintery day on December 9, 2021, but inside the Pool Pavilion at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, all was merry and bright where the Friends welcomed eight lovely prospective members and their sponsors at a Holiday Tea. Thanks to Andrea Layne who had the inspired idea to host the tea, and with the help of President Betty Goldstein, the attendees enjoyed a delightful afternoon.

Two twinkling Christmas trees (decorated by Betty, Katie Marsano, Kerstin Royce, and Patti Reinstein) created a sparkling, festive atmosphere. One tree was decorated with Mrs. Robinson’s vintage ornaments from the 1950s. The other travel-themed tree reflected the many worldwide travels that Harry and Virginia enjoyed together. Urns filled with pinecones, ferns, and red berries and festive centerpieces on the tables were artfully designed by VRG gardener Cynthia Mascarenas. Adding to the warm and inviting atmosphere of the event was an array of appetizing sandwiches, pumpkin cookies, the iconic tarte tatins (caramelized apple tarts) from Dolce Isola --The Ivy Bakery, and Christmas cookies.

As the guests enjoyed the treats, Andrea thanked everyone for coming and remarked “what a special treasure” VRG is; it is a blending of old traditions and new ones created by our members. She enthused, “One of the first events I attended was the glamorous Fellows Thank You Dinner at the Gardens which was such a magical evening.” Andrea then introduced Betty, and explained that since Betty is a docent as well, she has a wealth of knowledge and anecdotes to share.

Betty gave a short history of the Robinsons and the estate. She said that Virginia loved children even though she did not have any, and she organized many philanthropic activities for them. Betty noted, “We look up to Virginia, and we try to continue her legacy, and one of the ways we do that is through our Children’s Program.”

Past President Kerstin Royce talked about the very successful Semi-Virtual Children’s Science Program that she and co-chairs Leslie Kavanaugh and Patti Reinstein have created during the pandemic since the children could not visit the Gardens. Boxes filled with thumb drives of a video of the Kitchen Garden at VRG and science lessons, healthy snacks, the book Sam’s Super Salad (written by Superintendent Timothy Lindsay and the founder of the Friends Joan Selwyn and illustrated by Joan), notebooks with fun lessons, worksheets, coloring books, crayons, and other fun items to use for learning, are sent to Title One schools. This program has been met with great enthusiasm from grateful teachers as well as students who have written heartwarming and charmingly illustrated thank you notes.

Past President and Fellows chair Jeanne Anderson then spoke about the fabulous upcoming events at the Fellows level, including a curator led-tour of the new exhibit, “Borderlands,” at the Huntington Library in San Marino and a fashion exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art of a collection of the late designer Alexander McQueen’s clothes, donated by our very own member Regina Drucker. Jeanne explained how these fund-raising events are very helpful for the preservation and restoration of the Gardens and the estate.

Betty concluded by saying how positive and uplifting Robinson Gardens is and exclaimed, “It’s a wonderful place with wonderful women.” Kerstin added, “I’ve formed wonderful friendships here that I could never have ever dreamed of having otherwise. We work together; we laugh together; we do good things together.” Betty said, “It’s more than just a house, it’s a home, and we all feel like we are a part of it, and you could as well if you decide to join our group.” Andrea, Betty, Kerstin, and Jeanne were so welcoming, wonderful, and interesting, that three members joined the Friends already!

A big thank you to Andrea and Betty for organizing such a beautiful Holiday Tea that warmed our hearts and gave us joy!

Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member
Editor of the VRG eNewsletter, the Happenings
Photos by Jeanne Anderson and Linda Meadows

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *