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 to the community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Julia Klein, a past President and dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens Board Member.
We asked her these three questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
“Friend” is where my Robinson Gardens began. Having moved to Beverly Hills in 2004, I immediately called a Friend, Susan Rosenthal, whom I had met when my husband Andy was doing a one-year Liver Transplant Fellowship at UCLA in 1987. We picked up the pieces of our friendship, which led to being introduced to another Friend, Jeanne Anderson — partly because of my love of gardening, but also because her son was heading to Johns Hopkins University which is where my oldest son had just graduated. I had been invited to a Garden Tour by another Friend, Karen Todman, and was so incredibly amazed by the off-site properties and the privilege of having access to these private homes. Then, to walk onto the Robinson Garden Estate!! I was overwhelmed by the incredible flowers… the whole event!
This is when my journey to understanding the different levels of the Friends membership began. Coming from the East Coast and being embraced by so many talented, accomplished, energetic, knowledgeable and friendly women has been my inspiration and motivation for being involved at the Gardens. I am honored to be able to say that I have had a very very small part in the mission of maintaining and preserving this gem of Beverly Hills. So many want to forget the past — let’s continue to embrace and honor the history of Virginia and Harry Robinson. Every time I walk through the Palm Forest (maintained by the most dedicated and hardworking staff) and I hear the wind blowing through the fronds, I’m at peace and feel so blessed to be a Friend. I like to think that Virginia is smiling down on us!
2. What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?
From the beginning, I said, I’m a worker bee. Give me a job and I’ll do my best… mostly learning on the job! From Botanical and Educational classes to being a Board member, I marvel at all I’ve learned. When I was asked to be the President, after being a VP, my immediate response was, I don’t have the skill set to do this job. Reading a financial spread sheet is not something for which I’ve ever been responsible. But, Maralee Beck told me that I’d grow and learn. She was correct. Of course, it was because I was blessed, being surrounded by many more talented ladies: Kerstin Royce, Adrienne Horwitch, and Cindy Fields — and as always, Jeanne Anderson. Of course, there are many more who helped me along the way!!
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
How about having my husband Andy organize a surprise birthday party in the Pool Pavillon?! What a perfect event it was. At the time, all three of my sons were living in Beverly Hills. Being surrounded by so many friends and family was such a wonderful present in a very treasured location.