2021 Garden Tour & Showcase Estate
Welcome Back...Into The Garden
In the words of co-chair Jeanne Anderson, “Love was in the air” at the members-only Welcome Back…into the Garden Garden Tour on October 23, 2021. This intimate and lovely celebration was a gift given with love to the steadfast, loyal, and generous Friends who supported the Virginia Robinson Gardens during the difficult times of the pandemic when the Gardens were mostly closed, and events were few and far between.
Co-chairs Maralee Beck, Jeanne Anderson, and President Betty Goldstein, and Committee Members Elaine Stein, Kerstin Royce, Dana Reston, Lynn Whitaker, Evie Carlson, Patty Reinstein, and Keely Smith all worked together to create this magnificent event for the Friends and their guests. The founder of the Friends, Joan Selwyn, remarked that it was “a very elegant and first-class event. The gardens were extraordinary -- the best ever!”
Maralee worked very hard to find these four unique, private gardens with historic provenances in Beverly Hills. The properties featured an elegant 1929 George Washington Smith Colonial Revival home with an olive allee leading to a specimen Cedar of Lebanon; a stunning 1962 A. Quincy Jones home with gardens on several levels dotted by citrus groves, birds of paradise and cedars; a lush 1927 Mediterranean style home with a rare tulip tree, giant sequoias, and 1,000 rose bushes; and a 1950 Moderne home with a bubbling, woodland stream and an ancient Chinese elm tree.
After visiting these remarkable gardens, the attendees were regaled by a ravishing visual display of floral artistry by top florists in select rooms of the house at VRG, a not-to-be-missed highlight of Garden Tour. The Front Entrance was gloriously festooned with a cascade of multi-colored hydrangeas, peonies, and roses, accented by blue and white porcelains and orange pumpkins. Branches of orange berries and red Japanese maple leaves further enhanced the autumnal theme, so beautifully expressed by Corey Andrews of Sweet Peas Custom Floral.
Friends member Katie Marsano’s lovely ikebana creations graced the Great Hall as did the colorful bouquets of Rose Lane Farms. Jeanne’s arrangement, placed next to Scott Shrader’s book, The Art of Outdoor Living, was inspired by the subtle and elegant colors of Scott’s garden designs.
The Guest Bedroom featured multiple stunning arrangements of flowers from exotic orchids, styled by Jeanne, to luscious bouquets of roses and hydrangeas, designed by Joan. A charming portrait painting of a young Virginia Robinson (that was created by Friends member Diane Jenkins and used for our 2018 Garden Tour invitation) added to the romantic atmosphere of the room.
The Yellow Salon, another room with multiple, dazzling floral designs, was styled by our new Friends member and florist Jelena Trifunovic of Viola Floral. A rich profusion of greenery and roses and other flowers in front of the fireplace and on the mantel wowed the attendees.
Similarly, in the Dining Room, decorated by George Martinez of George’s Garden, masses of flowers in front of the fireplace and on the mantel created a breathtaking vignette. The opulence continued on the dining table, set with gilded plates and gold-rimmed glasses and tall candles amidst a joyous and exuberant arrangement of multi-colored flowers.
In pretty containers in the Library, VRG gardener Cynthia Mascarenas created beautiful compositions with fruits and flowers.
In the Galleria, Amanda Gray of Florals by Amanda, designed a lovely bouquet of flowers with a palette of fuchsia, pink, and burgundy colors, accented all around by foliage and trailing leaves.
Out on the Great Lawn, floral centerpieces made by Robin Blake, Maralee, Jeanne, and Kerstin decorated the tables. These arrangements were all enthusiastically bought by our attendees, with the proceeds of the sales given to the Gardens.
On the Back Terrace, Friends member March Wisely, representing the Bel Air Garden Club, created a very striking and unique arrangement of crystals surrounding a bouquet of cactus and succulents whose green colors contrasted vividly with a symphony of deep reds, burgundy, and lavender flowers.
The luncheon, overseen by Elaine Stein, was in the words of Maralee, “sensational.” Bright fuchsia and lime green boxes contained the gourmet lunches. This superb menu was catered by Sean Murphy Catering & Events. Sean’s father, Jimmy Murphy, was the owner of the iconic and elegant restaurant Jimmy’s in Beverly Hills, which closed in 2000. The luncheon featured squash soup; salmon with a blueberry balsamic glaze with quinoa and vegetables; grilled citrus chicken with a mustard potato salad; parmesan crisps and an apple pomegranate crumble tart; and a vegetarian option showcasing seasonal fall vegetables. Adding to the sumptuousness of the menu were delectable Yarra Valley chocolate bars generously donated by our distinguished Angel member Dorothy Kamins.
By the Lily Pond, the charming and talented landscape architect Scott Shrader held a book signing of his beautiful book, The Art of Outdoor Living: Entertaining for Family and Friends.
Wonderfully curated by Dana, the boutiques around the pool and in the Pool Pavilion displayed enticing and popular items for sale from fabulous clothing and jewelry to shoes, colorful tablecloths, and bags. The attendees shopped happily, and 20% of the sale proceeds were donated to the Gardens.
The Friends also had a fun and entertaining opportunity to have pictures taken of them with their guests by Shutterbox Photo Booth.
As a memento of the wonderful day, favors were given to all the attendees. A paisley tote bag and Natalie Eau de Parfum, a fragrance created by Friends member Natasha Gregson Wagner in honor of her mother, the late actress Natalie Wood, delighted the guests. This romantic scent highlights a melange of floral notes, in particular gardenias and jasmine.
As President Betty concluded, “To rekindle our yearly Garden Tour, dormant since 2019, this “mini” Garden Tour was a truly wonderful experience enjoyed by all.” Krista Everage added, “The October Virginia Robinson Garden Tour delighted all with its autumn glow of beautiful floral displays and masterful gardens. Our treasured members in attendance beamed with beauty, love, and appreciation of being together again, and to take in the talents of all involved to make this a magical Saturday.” Jeanne noted that “people were floating with joy. It was a very ethereal day.”
A heartfelt thank you to our fabulous President, co-chairs, committee members, and docents who created such an unforgettable and luminous day at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, a haven of joy, restorative beauty, and inspiration for children and adults alike. Virginia would have been so grateful that thanks to the devotion and passion of the Friends, the docents, the staff, and Superintendent Timothy Lindsay, Robinson Gardens continues to thrive and inspire!
Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member
Editor of the VRG eNewsletter, the Happenings
Photos by Josh Johnston, Betty Goldstein, Elaine and Ron Stein, Jeanne Anderson, Kathy Choi, and Linda Meadows