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 Katie Marsano, a wonderful Friends of Robinson Gardens member. While working in admissions in a New England prep school, she was also a track and cross-country coach. Katie relocated to Los Angeles from Boston seven years ago. She was active in a Garden Club in the Boston area, where she participated in flower arranging competitions in the traditional Western-style. She also designed and created floral arrangements for many private events as well as for the weddings of friends. She then discovered Ikebana when she traveled with her husband to Japan, where she spent long stretches of time in Tokyo.
We asked her these four questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
A friend introduced me to Joan Selwyn knowing our shared passions for flower arranging and gardening. I instantly fell in love with Joan; how could I not?! She, of course, quickly guided my path to become a Friend.
2. What is your role - how do you contribute to VRG?
I met Joan just a few short months before the pandemic struck. At that time, I had already taken 90 lessons with an Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) Sogetsu Master in Tokyo. I had plans to return to Japan in March 2020 to complete my teaching certificate when the world shut down. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to give an Ikebana demonstration for the Friends of the Virginia Robinson Gardens. It was an honor and privilege to share my passion for this treasured Japanese art form.
In addition, I serve on the Board as the Committee Chair for the Garden Classes.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
My Ikebana journey has been a relatively solitary endeavor and primarily bound to my time spent in Japan. The opportunity to hold a demonstration for the Friends of the VRG gave me the opportunity to share my experience on a broad stage. It was immensely gratifying to share something which brings me deep joy only to have the enthusiasm mirrored back by such an engaging, appreciative, and curious gathering of members.
4. Please add any additional information you would like to share!
How incredibly fortunate we are for a haven which offers spectacular beauty, history, education, and friendship. I treasure being a Friend of the VRG and for the wonderful opportunities it affords us all.