Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson: The Art of Living
The 30th Annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate in partnership with Sunset magazine on May 19, 2018 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens was a spectacular event, thanks to our fabulous co-chairs Jeanne Anderson and Patti Reinstein, our wonderful President Marian Power, and our truly dedicated and passionate Garden Tour Committee. It was a day of unstoppable beauty and high artistic talent on display from the enchanting private gardens to the stunning interiors of the house at the Robinson Estate. A resounding success, the Concierge and VIP level tickets were once again sold out. It was the largest attendance at the Garden Tour ever, and a joyous celebration of this year‘s theme: “Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson: The Art of Living.“
The outside gardens were all magical and reflect very different eras of Virginia’s long tenure in Beverly Hills, from the Moorish Mansion of the 20’s to the Little Holmby Florentine Villa, replete with “antiquities,” to the Mid-Century Modern around the corner from Virginia’s fabled grounds.
The Concierge Garden, an Italianate beauty once owned by Cher and also Larry Flynt, jumped into the British Royal Wedding celebration with a lavishly set Afternoon Tea. Friends member Jamie Wolf arranged the absolutely stunning floral centerpiece on this table; she also created all the floral arrangements at the private gardens.
Touring never-opened private gardens is one special highlight of the Garden Tour, but the showcase aspect of the Robinson Estate, re-imagined every year by the most creative floral artists and designers, is a draw equally potent.
There was so much excitement back at Robinson Gardens. The meadows leading up to the house were ablaze with a riot of yellow daisies—truly a glorious sight. The designers and florists transformed the estate with so much dazzling beauty that all you heard was “Wow!” “Spectacular!“ “Gorgeous!” and the ultimate tribute—“No flower and designer show I’ve ever been to compares with this!”
Louesa Roebuck created an enchanting tableau in the Pantry with lush, overblown roses in seductive colors. Fruits and twirling vines added to the feeling of a magical, woodland glade.
In the Library, Andrey Yun’s stunning “dress” on a mannequin composed of pink roses and rare lavender hydrangeas from Holland was a favorite spot for picture taking; guests were delighted to pose next to it. Carrie Livingston’s up-to-the-minute furnishings accentuated the modernity of the space. In the Morning Room, re-imagined by Kenneth Boyer of Atelier K, the florist Flowermaid created a breathtaking “indoor garden” with creeping vines and pink roses climbing around the windows, up to the ceiling and spilling down to the floor.
The pièce de résistance was in the master “Wedding Suite” decorated by LA/CA Design Studio, Frette linens and Fiore Designs. The intoxicating scent of gardenias filled the room which was a tribute to the marriage of Prince Harry and Megan Markle that had taken place earlier in the day at Windsor Castle in England! A swath of gardenias was gloriously draped on the bed and cascaded down to the floor. The master bath was a tour de force. Sprays of purple delphinium and lavender irises contrasting with white anemones and large pale yellow flowers, and a delicately painted backdrop and mirror conspired to create the most magnificent tableau. The space was so enchanting that people came back to revisit and linger in its romantic and poetic aura.
The Galleria, decorated by Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors was a lyrical ode to classicism; on a long table, a male Grecian bust was surrounded by a symphony of harmonious vases – all in white. Grande Maison de Blanc and Floral Crush re-envisioned the Guest Bedroom into a charming and cozy space, complete with a romantic table set for two, while cream-colored hydrangeas and pink roses luxuriously spilled out of the tub in the Guest Bedroom Bath.
The Loggia – enhanced with bud vases hung on the mirrors that reflect the Palm Garden — was carefully choreographed by Nelson Hiltner of Flower Rush to emphasize the indoor/outdoor space; it was complemented by a very modern take on table setting in the 21st century by TableArt. The back balcony of the Pool Pavilion, adorned beautifully with multi-colored roses, hydrangeas, and purple delphiniums by George’s Garden and Marc Byrd, was the perfect selfie spot of the hills of Beverly.
In the kitchen, Chef Timothy Hollingsworth of the acclaimed restaurant Otium served tantalizing bites of halibut ceviche with avocado, tomato, and cucumber and other mouth-watering canapes. A sumptuous luncheon buffet was catered by the Kitchen for Exploring Foods. The iconic, delicious coconut cake made its requisite appearance on the dessert table along with Sprinkles ice cream and other delectables.
Concierge level guests were pampered with their own tables, beautifully decorated by Peter Otero of Silver Birches. Abundant sprays of miniature white flowers, palms, and ferns created a lush canopy overhead while a banana leaf runner on the table adorned with roses enhanced the tropical theme. A gift bag, filled with elegant Cartier stationery, The Gottlieb Native Garden book, coupons from Frette and Jardesca (a wine-based aperitif), an issue of Sunset Magazine and a pink wallet from Ted Baker were among the lovely items generously donated.
While the guests dined on the Great Lawn, Ted Baker presented a stunning fashion show with feminine, floral dresses—so on trend now—along with striking striped ensembles. Stylish outfits for men were also modeled in this dazzling show.
President Marian Power thanked everyone for coming and supporting the 30th Annual Garden Tour. She also thanked the Garden Tour Committee, our wonderful Superintendent Timothy Lindsay and “our stunning staff, diligent docents, valuable volunteers and our lovely Lynda Curland, the Director of Operations who have all worked nonstop to make this a beautiful garden day.” Marian then praised our amazing and wonderful co-chairs Jeanne Anderson and Patti Reinstein.
Patti, who will be the new President of the Friends, introduced our Grand Marshal Richard Shapiro. He remarked, “It is a great honor to be here, at this wonderful celebration of such an important Los Angeles landmark. I really want to single out Joan Selwyn, Maralee Beck, and Jeanne Anderson who have worked so hard to preserve and improve this wonderful place. It is truly the secret garden of Los Angeles.”
Marian then gave the Perennial Awards to Michael Reinstein, Chairman of Regent, who recently purchased Sunset magazine and Irene Edwards, its Editor-in-Chief, to honor and thank their spectacular and incredible support. Marian said they are “turning Sunset into an absolute must-see and read magazine.”
The lovely Irene Edwards, in turn, thanked Marian, Patti, and Jeanne “for allowing Sunset to be part of this amazing event and its incredible cause. It means so much to us.” She also thanked her co-host, the very talented interior designer and chef Nathan Turner, and “Michael Reinstein for believing in this brand. Sunset is celebrating a big anniversary this year too. It is 120 years old!”
Nathan Turner, Louesa Roebuck, and Richard Shapiro gave book signings for their gorgeous books, while others excitedly shopped at the boutiques on the tennis court. Besides bidding on the items for the silent auction, guests bought great jewelry, fun fashions, elegant handbags, and lovely accessories for the home.
The 30th Annual Garden Tour was an incredible day, filled with uplifting splendor, beauty, and passion – reflecting so exquisitely the theme of the “Art of Living,” and all for a great cause. We are so blessed to have the hard-working staff, the tireless Friends, the talented florists and designers, and the generous underwriters and supporters for this magnificent event. Virginia Robinson Gardens is truly a magical oasis that gives pleasure and meaning to so many visitors through its sublime gardens, the fantastic Education lectures and Fellows events, and the ever so popular and inspiring Children’s Program.
Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member