Spotlight on Lucia Burke

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 Lucia Burke, a wonderful docent and staff member. Lucia Burke is a UC-certified Master Gardener, who with the help of Estate Caretaker Josh Johnston, keeps the Kitchen Garden at VRG beautiful, welcoming, fun, and special for the kids in the Children’s Program. She has also been designing, installing, and maintaining organic vegetable gardens in private homes for over 10 years. 

1 . How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a docent?

I was a student at UCLA’s Gardening and Horticulture Program when one of my teachers, Tim Lindsay, told us that LA County was offering Horticulture Student Internships at VRG. Because I grew up in Brazil and was familiar with mainly tropical plants, I thought it was a wonderful hands-on opportunity to learn about the endless variety of plants that thrive in Southern California. I worked as an Intern from 2006 to 2009 and was able to help in all areas of the garden. In the last two of those years, I focused on my favorite area, the Kitchen Garden.

When the Internship ended, I became a docent with the Children’s Program for many years.

I am a Master Gardener and for 10 years I worked as a School Garden Coordinator at Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District. I love working with children and teaching them the importance of growing food while respecting the Earth.

2. What is your role – how do you contribute to VRG?

In 2022, I was delighted to be hired to revive the Kitchen Garden. It has been a pleasure to plan the garden for the Children’s Science Program and be able to show the kids how we grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs.  It grabs their attention to see how plants grow and encourages them to be inquisitive. I have as much fun as the kids!

3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?

I’ve been involved with VRG since 2006 and have too many wonderful memories to choose a favorite.

4. Please add any additional information you would like to share!

Working in the Kitchen Garden at VRG inspired me to build a career creating vegetable gardens for others. 

I’ve been able to demonstrate my work as a Floral Designer for the Kitchen Garden during past Garden Tours. It’s great to be back this year!

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