Message from President Betty Goldstein

“Wherever we go, no matter what the weather, let us bring our own sunshine.”

Venetia Stanley-Smith

Dear Friends,

If you have followed my writings, you know that my motto has always been “When one door closes, another door opens.” I have been thinking about this motto of mine and have contemplated changing it to “Never a dull moment.” Life seems to be bringing us many new challenges, personal and in the world around us.

Amongst our challenges here at the estate has been fundraising; as we are all aware, these last two years, it has been difficult for all non-profits to raise funds. You can help! Our “Gift for the Gardens” fundraising effort is now taking place. These funds help with estate restoration, special projects, and educational programs. The Virginia Robinson Gardens is an important part of the history of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Please consider giving a “Gift for the Gardens.” We thank you for your support.

The garden brings us a different type of challenge. After a dormant January, we now have tasks we can perform. At the Virginia Robinson Gardens, the gardeners are busy pruning our many fruit trees keeping them healthy so they may bear fruit in the spring. In my small yard, I have an apricot and a nectarine tree. I keep them no taller than seven feet and just about as wide. If you have a small yard, this works beautifully. I find pruning very meditative, studying each branch and its formation, looking at each new bud and the direction in which it will grow, looking for dead branches and cross branches that need to be removed. I like to make sure the sun can shine through the middle and the air can flow through the tree to keep it healthy. I also check for new growth and last year’s growth and make sure not to prune too severely. For me, a well-shaped tree gives me a sense of accomplishment and an awareness of order in my world.

Another pruning task is pruning the roses. I once went to a class led by a rosarian, who stated that in Southern California, it was best to prune, because of our climate, in early February. I find that concentrating on the rose pruning, looking for old wood, and pruning the rose to that bowl shape, to be very meditative as well. Here at VRG, we have over 200 roses in our cutting garden and many more in the Rose Display Garden. We happily accept volunteers who would like to help prune. If you are interested, please call the office.

After a dull January, camellias bring the first color into the garden. Camellias are such a beautiful flower with its varieties and colors. This is the time they are budding, and many are blooming. If you are not aware, the camellia was Virginia Robinson’s favorite flower. Many times, she wore them pinned to her jacket.

Our events are resuming. Under Covid rules of course, one of our first events will be our book club which is open to all who would like to attend. The attendees will be discussing the book She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler. Register here. Mae West was a friend of Virginia Robinson’s and a frequent visitor to the estate. We will keep you posted as we schedule more events throughout the spring.

Nature continues to move forward; we here at the gardens are doing the same. Let us move forward with optimism and the belief that all will return to normal, even if a few adjustments are needed.

May your garden continue to bloom. May the sunshine be in your life.


Betty Goldstein
President of the Friends of Robinson Gardens

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