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 community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Patti Reinstein, a dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens and Board Member. This year, Patti was one of three recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award, given by the Friends of Robinson Gardens. We asked her these three questions:
- How did you first learn about VRG and what inspired you to become a Friend?
It was serendipity! When we bought the house that we are currently living in, we had no idea of its wonderful history. We were still in the process of moving in, when a friend came by to see what we had done with the property. The next thing I knew, he had made a phone call. Within minutes, a long, sleek black car came up the driveway and out jumped a tall, dark and handsome man who happened to be Robbie Anderson. Robbie’s great-grandmother and grandfather owned and ran the Beverly Hills Hotel. Our new home had been part of the greater Anderson estate. Robbie had actually lived in this house as a child. Kismet! There was an instant connection! He made a phone call to his wife Jeanne. She and three other Friends of Robinson Gardens (Kerstin Royce, Ellen Lipson and Maralee Beck) immediately came to visit, hoping they had found a new garden to visit at the annual Garden Tour. Because we were still in the process of renovating the house and garden, they said, “Oh, you’ve got to join! Please come as our guest to the Membership Luncheon in September.” I ended up going… and never looked back. Robinson Gardens is so beautiful with such a rich history, and now I was finding a history in our property as well. Meant to be!
- What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?
I wear many hats. The Friends started me out slowly. The first year, I chaired the Membership Luncheon. The next thing I knew I was working on Food and Décor for the Gala and Garden Tour. I hadn’t done this kind of work for many years. I really started to enjoy it. I love all the design work I get to do working with Kerstin and Ellen, creating the table decorations for the Education Lectures. It is exciting to work on the centerpieces and the menu to surprise our guests at each event.
This year, I am co-chairing the Garden Tour along with Jeanne Anderson. Having the incredible support of Sunset Magazine for the first time has been such an exciting bonus for us, bringing in advertising and new vendors as well. For the past two years, I have also been on the Executive Board at VRG, serving as Vice President, and hopefully making decisions to help propel Mrs. Robinson’s dreams into the future.
- Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
I have so many wonderful memories. The Fellows trips to New Orleans and Newport, Rhode Island are certainly among my favorites. Last year I worked at the Children’s Science Fair and watching the children’s faces as they enjoyed the gardens was very rewarding. It reminded me of when I was a teacher in Pacoima. Recently, we gave a tour of the Gardens to Irene Edwards who is the Editor-in-Chief of Sunset Magazine. It was a thrill to see Robinson Gardens through her eyes, and it gave me a renewed sense of the beauty and great history of VRG, the Friends’ purpose, and much excitement about the future.