Oh, What a Night!


It was a warm and beautiful Saturday when the Fellows of the Friends celebrated with a dinner under the stars on August 13, 2022, at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Friends who had not seen each other for many years reconnected, and many new friendships were made. Beautiful women in pretty dresses and handsome gentlemen mingled and marveled about the lovely setting of our event in this hidden paradise.

We started with cocktails on the Back Terrace of the estate that was transformed into an outdoor living room. The specialty drink of the evening was an Aperol Spritz which was a perfect choice for the balmy evening. Sean Murphy Catering & Events was in charge of the food and service of the evening…and didn’t disappoint. Our wonderful staff at VRG should be commended for organizing and setting up for this event. Their dedication and experience made everything go smoothly.

Trays were passed of bite-sized appetizers featuring five-spice crusted ahi tuna with ginger-lychee ponzu sesame taro root, Thai vegetarian spring rolls with spicy citrus sauce as well as seared lamb loin on a cornbread cake topped with cherry port sauce. All were delectable.

Our President Betty Goldstein welcomed everyone in front of the Friends Donor Tree on the Back Terrace and told the story of how our founder Joan Selwyn started the Friends of Robinson Gardens 40 years ago. She pointed out the plaque that the Friends placed there in honor of Joan which symbolized that, due to her dedication, the tree has now grown, and we have prospered as an organization.

There was also a display of a replacement for the grass on the Great Lawn that is water-wise called Kurapia. It can be mowed like grass or one can let it bloom into a lush groundcover as shown in the photo by the trunk of the tree. A sample of Kurapia was planted near the pool by former Superintendent Timothy Lindsay. This will be our next fundraising project for the Friends!

Then it was time to sit down for dinner on the Great Lawn. The tables were set in purple with overlays of sheer sparkling organza. The centerpieces in silver containers made by Jeanne Anderson were beyond beautiful, filled with orchids and other lovely flowers, including roses and chrysanthemums, in all shades of purple.

The first course was a summer nectarine arugula salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and dressed with aged balsamic vinegar. The choices for the main courses were pan-seared seabass with avocado relish, heirloom roasted tomato and wild radish; herb-crusted sliced beef tenderloin, charred asparagus, button mushrooms, garlic mash and demiglace; and vegan Wellington made with chickpeas, walnuts, and mushroom demiglace.

Our president Betty Goldstein again took the microphone and congratulated the many Friends present, who had either made a donation to have their own leaf attached to the Donor Tree, or the Friends who had donated to a higher-level leaf. She also mentioned the many restoration projects that have been finalized here at the estate, thanks to the generous donations made by the Friends.

It was then time for “The Sweet Finale” which starred a peach cobbler with a sugar cone crust, vanilla ice cream and Chantilly whipped cream. For the cookie lovers, cornflake crunch marshmallow chocolate chips as well as Lemon Crinkle were served.

It was such a wonderful evening, and no one wanted to leave. One guest said, “I belong to many organizations, but there is only one that truly stands out and not only because of its charitable contributions that preserve and protect this historic First Estate of Beverly Hills, but also for its devotion to the Children’s Program and for the love and friendship the members have for each other.”

The Friends are very grateful to Fellows Chair Jeanne Anderson for creating so many exceptional, beautiful, and magical events for the members to enjoy, thereby helping to preserve our beloved Robinson Gardens.

Post by Kerstin Royce and Patti Reinstein
Photos by Joan Selwyn, Kerstin Royce and Patti Reinstein
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Members

  1. Mary Hampson
    | Reply

    Thank you for the amazing photos. Every one looks so happy and the decor and food look fantastic. I am so disappointed I was unable to attend.

Leave a Reply

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