May 2021 Happenings

Message from President Betty Goldstein

To nurture: “care for and encourage the growth or development of”

Dear Friends,

In the garden, I think of May as the nurturing month, where we continue to nurture the last of our fading winter plants and vegetables while nurturing the new seedlings for the coming season. The gardens are full of spring blossoms, the deciduous trees are leafing, and the birds are building their nests. But we also have the lettuces that are starting to fade, the celery that needs to be picked, and the last of our fall and winter avocados that need to be harvested.

The lettuce is ready to bolt, and in my garden, some already have. The different lettuces gave me a winter’s worth of salad and now will bloom into its beautiful flower, but as it does, the leaf loses its taste and is no longer edible. It takes away one aspect of giving nourishment and subsequently gives us bountiful flowers, a gift for the eye. It then goes to seed, to harvest, and plant for the next season. Nature gives us nourishment, beauty, and a way to preserve and to continue its existence, knowing we can count on it to revive, replenish and return year after year.

We here at the Gardens are a resilient group. It has been a hard year for all of us and our community. As we all hope the fading time of our “winter” experience will be in the past, we nurtured the Garden and our organization as best as we could during those dark days.

We are now in the process of blooming; the Gardens are open once again for docent-led tours. We are scheduling new events with all Covid precautions in mind. Our very versatile semi-virtual Children’s Science Program continues to serve children as they transition into the classroom with a new unit on plants coming soon.

The Virginia Robinson Gardens is a unique place. Not only is it a beautiful garden for all the community to enjoy, but it also is part of the history of the city of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. We always invite you to be part of this special place.


Betty Rodriguez Goldstein
President of the Friends of Robinson Gardens

Our Garden Tour Star Marianne Yamaguchi

Each month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated in 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 Marianne Yamaguchi, owner of Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery, whose father was a famous bonsai specialist. Her nursery has very unique plants.

We asked her these four questions:

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Come Into the Gardens


This exotic plant catches your attention and steals your heart with its beauty. It is the Cinderella of the garden. Its colorful flower brings a bright burst of excitement to every breathtaking landscape.

Bougainvillea is a subtropical flowering vine named for Admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729 – 1811), the first Frenchman to circumnavigate the globe during a three-year voyage in the mid-1700s. Philibert Commerson, a flagship botanist was the first to describe this plant in scientific literature, but it was his assistant, an herbalist named Jeanne Baret, who found it growing in the hills near Rio de Janeiro and carried it back on board. Baret had disguised herself as a man to sail with him around the world. After two years at sea, her identity was discovered. In an attempt to wiggle out of this dangerous situation, Commerson assured the admiral that his name would live on in botanical perpetuity, and Bouganvillea agreed to spare Baret’s life. Commerson named Baret’s vine B. brasiliensis. There are approximately 14 species of bougainvillea, and all of them come from South America.

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The Rose Sale Enchants VRG Members

The sun was shining brightly, but not even the sun could compete with the smiles on the faces of the members of the Friends of Robinson Gardens. Everyone wanted to be a part of Jeanne Anderson’s exquisitely planned Rose Sale.

Greeting guests at the refreshment table were Ellen Lipson, Kerstin Royce, and Chava Gerber. The Friends enjoyed salted caramel cookies and individually wrapped brownies, while they sipped rose-flavored lemonade and Arnold Palmers through agave straws.

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Spotlight on Cindy Fields

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 Cindy Fields, a wonderful and dedicated longtime Friends of Robinson Gardens Member. Cindy has volunteered numerous times for many committees over the years, and she is very stylish, reflecting her love of fashion.

We asked her these three questions:

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In Case You Missed It: Thoughts from Friends

Worthy McCartney

I’m Worthy McCartney, and I have been associated with Robinson Gardens and the Friends for a number of years. What a delight it is to always drive up Elden and walk through the entry into the best-kept secret in Beverly Hills…the beautiful gardens, palm trees, flowers, the décor, scents, and beauty that all scream the best of California…

My love for the beauty of California is practically lifelong…having first arrived when my father was transferred here with the Air Force in 1974… At that time, I lived in Orange County which was one strawberry field after another… South Coast Plaza was not yet built out, and a ride up the 405 was quick to my Alma Mater, UCLA…

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