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 Lara Roman, a docent and dedicated Friends of Robinson Gardens member. A corporate lawyer, Lara is a native of Germany. As her father was a diplomat and an ambassador, she lived in various countries and speaks fluent French, Spanish, German, and English.
We asked her these three questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
I was searching for a location for our wedding photos and fell in love with the Gardens right away. I was looking for a Mediterranean-style estate, most importantly with palm trees. When I told April Walton that I liked palm trees, she said, “Will two acres of a palm tree forest be enough?” I was in heaven. It’s such an enchanted place. It is a pleasure to walk through all the different parts of the Gardens and enjoy the colors and fragrances of the vast variety of flowers and plants.
Also, the interior of the house for me is like visiting home. I grew up surrounded by everything from Biedermeier to Rococo, as my parents have collected antiques their entire life. Hopping over to the Gardens for a feeling of home away from home instead of getting on a plane to Europe has been very comforting during the pandemic.
My husband Phil also fell in love with the Gardens right away. The connection to the Disneys was a perk for him as he started his career in animation at the Disney Studios and has had the honor of meeting Walt Disney personally. When I told him that I would like to join the Friends and help preserve such a historic place, he thought it was a great idea. I have met so many lovely and friendly people from the Board members to the docents; everybody loves the Gardens and is very dedicated. I truly enjoy being a part of the Friends.
2. What is your role - how do you contribute to VRG?
I volunteer as a docent and am also on the Board of the Friends of VRG. During these last months, I have mainly contributed by sending out personalized birthday cards to the Friends. I always make sure to incorporate a floral theme.
The recent Garden Tour for members has pulled me out of my shell after staying safe and staying away during the pandemic, and seeing the gardens again as well as all the wonderful members has motivated me to be more active again next year.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
Every visit to the Gardens is magical. My husband and I had such a wonderful time during our wedding photoshoot. Meeting all the friends at the various events is also exciting, and the Garden Tour is such a highlight. I especially like the new area by the Wildlife Pond in the King Palm Forest. My friend and I sat down for lunch there during the last Garden Tour; it’s the perfect place to sit and take in the tranquility and at the same time the splendor of the estate.