March 2021 Happenings

Message from President Betty Goldstein

“The brown buds thicken on the trees,

Unbound, the free streams sing,

As March leads forth across the leas

The wild and windy spring.”

-Elizabeth Akers Allen (1832-1911)

Dear Friends,

What a wonderful month March is. With March comes the first day of spring and the vernal equinox where the day and night are of equal length, a balance of light and dark.

Spring signifies the start of new beginnings. Here at our beloved Virginia Robinson Gardens, March has brought new beginnings to us as well. In the garden, we watch the tiny green buds erupt from the dormant branches of our deciduous trees, and the buds on our apple trees turn into flowers with the promise of beautiful fruit to come.

What else does March bring to our gardens?

Our Gardens are open once again. You may come and enjoy them in a safe manner under our Covid-19 protocols.

We have a virtual book event on March 11, 2021, with Sunday Taylor, author of The Anglophile’s Notebook. Please click here to register for this virtual Zoom event. As the gardens continue to reopen, we will have a meet and greet event with the author.

Daffodil near the allee of magnolia trees in the Italian Terrace Garden at VRG (Photo by Josh Johnston)

Our children’s semi-virtual science pilot program has gone to over 350 school children with many more units ready to be distributed in the weeks to come. Work on our next unit on plants is well on its way to being completed.

We are in the midst of our Society Membership drive. As a member, you are entitled to come and visit the gardens in all its spring glory, while supporting and ensuring its legacy. (See membership benefits.) Please click here to join.

And as always we are working towards the restoration and preservation of the estate, its treasures and the botanical gardens.

Please keep visiting our website as we offer more and more programs outdoors where the gardens are bountiful and will bring joy and a sense of peace to your life.

The daffodil, a bright and happy flower, is the floral emblem of March and symbolizes rebirth.

May your days be filled with light.


Betty Rodriguez Goldstein
President of the Friends of Robinson Gardens



Our Garden Tour Star March Wiseley

Every month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated at our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations.

This month, we are featuring landscape designer March Wiseley. March was introduced to Virginia Robinson Gardens by Superintendent Timothy Lindsay when she attended one of his classes at UCLA.  As a result of that meeting, several of her gardens, including her former garden in Bel Air, have been part of the annual …Into the Garden Tours.  She has recently designed a new garden for Friends member, Ellen Lipson.

We asked her these six questions:

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Come Into the Gardens

With our Mediterranean-style climate in Los Angeles, we have more opportunity than most to explore the natural world and to be creative, surrounding ourselves with nature’s favorite flowers and plants of the season.

There is a special kind of joy when one puts their hands-in-the dirt gardening. The result is a happy blend of mental relaxation and creative energy.

Our garden star this month is the CAMELLIA, one of nature’s greatest fall gifts. They are the jewels of the shade garden that brighten the winter months with blooms of incredible variation and beauty. Camellias were also one of Virginia Robinson’s favorite flowers. The pink flower pictured here was named after Virginia Robinson at “Nuccio’s” famous camellia nursery.

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Fountain Designer Jim Garland and Alison Terry Delight at VRG’s Zoom Lecture

On February 12, 2021, members of the Virginia Robinson Gardens participated on Zoom to hear a fabulous lecture by world-renowned fountain designer Jim Garland and a presentation by Alison Terry, liaison for the Southern California chapter of HALS (Historic American Landscape Survey). Alison explained that HALS is a federal program within the National Park Service whose primary goal is to provide a permanent, publicly accessible record of significant cultural landscapes. Alison said, “For the Virginia Robinson Gardens, it is significant because it represents a rare, intact example of an estate garden with classical Italianate elements.” As Beverly Hills’ first estate, it has a rich social history as well.

The documentation will consist of measured drawings, large-format and drone photography, and a written history. Alison added that she is very excited to work with her team of 22 volunteers who have a great depth of knowledge of landscapes. They range from historians, arborists, fine artists and recent graduates to Disney Imagineering retirees. Click here for the full list of volunteers.

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In Case You Missed It: Thoughts from Friends

Beth Rudin DeWoody

As a child, I attended the Rudolph Steiner School in New York City. I was there for eight years. Art making and crafts were a big part of my education as well as eurythmics and music. I knitted, sewed and did macramé; I made a bamboo recorder and carved wood. For every subject, we had to make a “good book,” with each page illustrated with colored pencils.

My love of art continued through the years. I took classes at the Arts Students League and The New School where my teacher was Benny Andrews. The first real piece of art that I got was a drawing by him when I was 17. In high school, I made art with Gaylord Flory and learned about contemporary art through Ed Buonagorio, both teachers at Riverdale Country School.

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Spotlight on Ellen Lipson

Each month we spotlight a volunteer, staff member, docent, donor, or sponsor of Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG) -- those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you know about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to the Virginia Robinson Gardens and to the community, and what they do that is so impactful.

This month, we spotlight Ellen Lipson, a wonderful and dedicated Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member and a Benefactor member!

We asked her these three questions:

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To see what the Friends of Robinson Gardens have been up to, please visit our Archive.