Each month we spotlight a volunteer, staff member, docent, donor, or sponsor of the Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG) -- those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you know about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to the Virginia Robinson Gardens and to the community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Andrea Layne, a dedicated Friends of Robinson Gardens member. Always eager to help, her first volunteer job entailed helping host the florists for the walk-through before Garden Tour.
We asked her these four questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
I recently relocated to Beverly Hills three years ago this winter. I immediately started to inquire about organizations that involved women and much to my surprise and delight, Virginia Robinson Gardens was mentioned. It is a hidden gem with Zen-like gardens and a magnificent estate. I was overjoyed because these were all components and passions that I myself share. The thrill is never lost on me from the moment I ascend the long winding driveway past the King Palm Forest and continue my way up to the tennis court. You are immediately enveloped by beauty. The world melts away, and you are transported back in time.
The part that makes the Friends so special is the camaraderie. The house is something from the past, but the ladies themselves are from the present -- they are current and knowledgeable on so many topics. The biggest standout of being a Friend of the Gardens is truly how many friends you are able to make. The ladies are so welcoming that being a member is one of my biggest highlights. What inspired me to come to the Gardens were the gardens. What inspired me to join is definitely the ladies themselves. Every event is done with such thought and creative taste. And yes, there will always be a beautiful floral centerpiece at every table because that is what the Gardens are about. We are also about the education of children, and the Gardens have taken on that as well. Groups of children having field trips to the Wildlife Pond and learning by seeing takes place. Thereafter, we started sending learning packages to schools for children to be able to have take-home projects. The house itself is a project to learn about.
2. What is your role - how do you contribute to VRG?
I was lucky enough to be able to help chair our Member's Luncheon. It was a joy to go and filter through Mrs. Robinson’s tablecloths and choose china. We had fun reconnecting on that warm summer afternoon last month. We had a lovely turnout, and the food was a success. But as always, the biggest hit of the day were the ladies themselves, from smart fashion to clever conversation and to all-around good cheer. My contribution to the Gardens is an ongoing process. Last month it was the luncheon, and next month, a New Members Tea. The beauty of the Gardens is you can find your own niche and do as much or as little as your own personal time constraints allow.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
My personal favorite event of the year was the Fellows August Moon Dinner Party. It was held outside and on the patio. The evening was a treasure from beginning to end. The weather was the perfect temperature to allow the ladies to dress up. That night was magical, complemented with lovely food and wine. The men seemed to enjoy the whole event as much as the ladies did. I felt a bit like Cinderella that night, not so much for meeting a prince, but for being able to dress up. I was able to meet the men that are lucky enough to escort these wonderful, empowered women to an evening of fun. That evening will be a standout for me.
4. Please add any additional information you would like to share!
The world of Mrs. Robinson is sure to live on and thrive due to the contributions of the Friends of Robinson Gardens. One can give to the Gardens in so many ways. Time and generosity are given, but in comparison, the Gardens give way more back. Just walk past the gates and enter the magical world of where the present meets the past. The Gardens bring peace to everyone.