“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom.” Marcel Proust
A most heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been the “charming gardeners” in my life for the past two years. It is nearly impossible to believe that my term as President of the Friends of Robinson Gardens is coming to a close. I am filled with gratitude for all the wonderful members of our Robinson Gardens family for so many things…your warm welcome, your ideas, your support, your energy, your diligence, and your enthusiasm and ever cheerful smiles.
It was due to a chance meeting with Robbie Anderson that I became acquainted with the Friends of Robinson Gardens. Within minutes of that unplanned encounter, Jeanne Anderson, Kerstin Royce, and Maralee Beck were standing in my driveway hoping to find a wonderful garden to be showcased at that year’s Garden Tour. Alas, my gardens were still works in progress; however, their enthusiasm for Robinson Gardens was infectious, and I took them up on their kind invitation to attend the Membership Luncheon that October 2013. That’s all it took, and I was hooked! Thank you, my friends, for brightening my world. And Robbie…thanks for fixing me up with your amazing wife! She is tireless in her dedication to the Friends.
The beauty of the estate and gardens, the friendliness of the members, the clear goals of restoration of a historic property, and their wonderful Children’s Program presented several opportunities for me to be of service to others. After some years of gaining experience working on a number of committees, the “Triumvirate,” as I lovingly call them, Jeanne, Kerstin and Maralee, approached me about becoming President. Although I was filled with anxiety at the prospect, they promised to always be there for me and had confidence that I was well prepared for the job. Their promises were kept, and I am forever grateful to them for their knowledge, guidance, kindness, and love. They have been my mentors and instilled in me the value of the work we do here at the Virginia Robinson Gardens and the true meaning of dedication to a cause.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wonderful Executive Committee who has worked tirelessly helping to make decisions for the betterment of this beautiful estate. They are smart and savvy women with a wide variety of life experiences. I have learned from each of you…Betty, Lynn, Kerstin, Patty. And Evie… you put the “treasure” in treasurer! I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
To Joan Selwyn, our founder… for your continued interest and loving support. You are the epitome of grace and dedication.
To the Board Members of the Friends…I hold you all in such high esteem. I am indebted to you for your active interest. There is comfort in your steady advice. You show up and make your voices heard. A special thanks goes to Leslie Kavanaugh and Linda Meadows for your creativity and writing skills.
Our docents are our master storytellers at VRG. Your knowledge about the estate and the joy you bring to our visitors, both young and old, are invaluable.
There are many working parts of our organization that must engage in concert with the County of Los Angeles, our overseer. From the leadership at the County level, to Lynda, April and Allenoosh in the office, to our hardworking staff gardeners who maintain the miracles of Virginia’s masterpiece and our artistic caretakers Josh and Andy, I give you a standing ovation!
Tim, you are a giant among men. Your calm demeanor, your vision, your cool head in a crisis, your willingness to work out issues as they arise serve you well and help us to continue to grow.
Although my term soon comes to an end, I will remain an active member of this dedicated family. I leave you in experienced and capable hands to guide us through these unprecedented times in history, and to stay true to our mission to preserve and protect the beautiful and historic Virginia Robinson Gardens.
With hope and gratitude,
Please stay safe, stay calm, and stay connected.