Spotlight on Patty Elias

Each month we will spotlight a volunteer, staff member, donor or sponsor of Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG)—those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you, the reader, know a little bit about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to the Virginia Robinson Gardens and community, and what they do that is so impactful.

This month, we spotlight Patty Elias, a dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens and Board Member. This year, Patty was one of three recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award, given by the Friends of Robinson Gardens. We asked her these three questions:
How did you first learn about VRG and what inspired you to become a friend?

I learned about the Virginia Robinson Garden years ago when I was taking horticulture classes at UCLA.  I heard about the opportunity to volunteer for the garden tour and I realized that by volunteering, I would have access to many beautiful gardens that I may never have had the opportunity to see. Coincidentally,  I happened to have Jeanne Anderson in one of my classes and she was kind enough to invite me to become a member of the Friends of Robinson Gardens.  That was several years ago. Since then, I have found that there are so many opportunities as a Friend of VRG.  From educational classes, to volunteering for the Garden Tour or assisting the children that visit the gardens during the week, there is always something fun to do.

What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?

I have several roles this year at VRG. I am the co-chair of the upcoming Holiday Open House coming up soon on December 1 & 2.   I am also co-chair of the Children’s Health & Science Fair in March as well as working on the Garden Tour that takes place on May 19th.  We also started a committee that focuses on community outreach and we were able to invite 15 of the city’s top concierge to join us for a tour of the home and a sunset stroll around the property.  Our goal was to introduce them to the history and beauty of the estate with the hope that they will in turn invite their guests to join us for our many events.

Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us? 

I have many VRG memories.  I loved our evening with our local Concierge.  The evening was beautiful and there is nothing better than taking a tour with one of our many enthusiastic docents and listening to the endless stories about Mrs. Robinson. There are also so many wonderful memories around the Garden Tours.  It is such a pleasure to work together with so many smart, fun and passionate women. Their energy is limitless and their commitment to making the tour a success is contagious.  Overall, my favorite memory would be last year’s Children’s Science Fair held in March.  It is very fulfilling to have 100 children from very diverse backgrounds come together to enjoy the calm and beauty of the Gardens and to leave with a hint of renewed faith and a smile on their face.  Again, it would not have been a success without the help of the docents and the dedication of the Friends.  It was a very special and meaningful day for all of us and I am looking forward to doing it again.


  1. Juan Bastos
    | Reply

    Congratulations Patty! What a great article and interview. It seems like yesterday that I met you at the Robinson Gardens while I was contributing showing my art in one of the rooms on a beautiful spring day, while decorators made the mansion even more beautiful than it is. A few years later, you helped me to be part of the Masterpiece Garden Tour to work on a portrait while visitors walked by. You even lent me the portrait I did of your beautiful daughter to be displayed in that room. Your kindness, professionalism and energy are admirable. Sincerely, Juan Bastos

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