Rooms, Blooms and Rites of Spring

The Annual Garden Tour Countdown Begins!

Rooms, Blooms, and Rites of Spring

Of all the traditions sacred to gardeners and garden lovers here in Los Angeles, the Virginia Robinson Gardens Tour has to be the most eagerly anticipated. It’s the occasion when we get dressed up, don our garden hats, and tour some of the most enchanting private gardens in Los Angeles. Afterwards we go to the beautiful Robinson estate in Beverly Hills for the garden party of the year. This is the only time of the year that the entire house is open to the public, and it truly sparkles. The rooms of the house are decorated by the top designers and florists in Los Angeles and are always a glorious sight to behold.

There is a delicious luncheon and tea accompanied by an elegant fashion show and fabulous boutique. It’s a day for catching up with old friends, discovering good ideas for your own garden, and being inspired by the beauty of nature. And because it happens in May when gardens are at their peak, it is truly a celebration of the glories of spring.

Recently I sat in on a couple of planning meetings for the garden tour. This is the biggest event on the calendar for the Friends of Robinson Gardens, and there is a lot of work that goes into the planning. The Garden Tour committee begins meeting in the fall and works on the event for the next six months. It is always fascinating to discover what makes each year’s tour unique. This year, there are four very talented and energetic chairs—Kathy Choi, Dana Reston Lyons, Nicole Antoine, and Diane Jenkins—who have accomplished the impressive feat of keeping beloved traditions as well as introducing new and exciting ideas. Here are some of the things I learned:

This year’s tour is called “2016…De Colores, the Art of Botanical Seduction.” The committee is working very hard to coordinate all aspects of the event with this exciting and colorful theme. Food, décor, and flowers were discussed at the meeting. Samples of fabrics for tablecloths and napkins were passed around, menus were discussed, and a plan for the layout of the event on the Great Lawn was displayed. From everything I saw, this garden tour promises to be visually stunning. For the first time ever, Mrs. Robinson’s master bedroom will be completely emptied (for repainting) which means a very lucky florist and designer get to decorate the entire room.

Perhaps the most exciting announcement was the honorees. Traditionally, a Grand Marshal is chosen and this year it will be noted designer and author Suzanne Rheinstein. And this year, a new feature is the Vanguard Award, established to honor a young tastemaker and entrepreneur in our community. Fashion celebrity and blogger Louise Roe will be the first recipient of this extraordinary honor. It’s wonderful to see how new ideas blend so seamlessly with the old.

The planning for the big event is well underway and in very capable hands. This year’s tour falls on Saturday, May 14 and promises to be a day of elegance, high spirits and garden magic. I have noticed that the planning of the Garden Tour always seems to be filled with enthusiasm. Maybe that’s because it feels like a harbinger of spring, reminding everyone of the sunny season ahead!

To purchase tickets online for this fabulous event, or to learn more about the annual garden tour, go to:

Post by Sunday Taylor
Friends of Robinson Gardens

Sunday Taylor writes the lifestyle/literary blog “Ciao Domenica” at

Photo of the Garden Tour Chairs by Joshua Johnston





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