The Gift of Nature

Spring Renewal at Robinson Gardens


Spring Blooms

"Like tiny seeds with potent power to push through tough ground and become mighty trees, we hold innate reserves of unimaginable strength. We are resilient."
-Catherine DeVrye, The Gift of Nature

Hello Friends,

As of today, our social distancing orders in Los Angeles County remain in place, testing our strength as well as our fortitude. The impact of the last two months cannot be overstated. Losses have mounted in both our health and economic worlds, and we often receive mixed messages from those who guide us. Still, we must be resilient. We must find that reserve of "unimaginable strength" to get us through this together. Resilience is a skill that we can learn. Resilience helps us to move through hardships that take place in our lives and to become better from them. We need to be able to make realistic plans that we are capable of carrying out and not cling to what can no longer be. Change is our is adjustment. We need to learn to manage our feelings and impulses in a healthy way during this crisis. It is important to let go of what we cannot change and learn new confidence in our own strengths and abilities. Most importantly, we need to communicate with one another.

I want all of you to know how important it is to stay in touch during these difficult times. By talking to others, we share the burdens as well as the joys. New ideas emerge during conversations. The Friends of Robinson Gardens' Executive Board and advisors have been hunkering down via Zoom, phone calls and emails to find new ways to continue our programs and to protect Virginia's legacy. I have enjoyed sending out our Monday morning Spring Renewal messages. On Mother's Day, we hope that you enjoyed our video of the beautiful gardens that grace the estate. Betty Goldstein, with great love, worked with our tech consultant, Mitch Rossiter, to bring you the spring spirit of the gardens we all know and love so much. The responsibility for the protection and restoration of this beautiful place is held in our hands. Those tiny seeds planted so many years ago will continue to thrive and be shared through our dedication.

We have all been missing this year's Garden Tour. We were fortunate to be introduced to David Silverman, from, who has written books on two houses that had formerly been seen on Garden Tour. Thank you to former President and advisor, Maralee Beck, Superintendent Tim Lindsay, and again to Mitch Rossiter who all worked incredibly hard with David to bring you our Webinar with an inside look at these wonderful homes with stories and connections to the Robinsons. We hope that you all enjoyed our first Webinar or seminar on the Web. Click here to view the webinar.

This week, I thank Friends member and designer Susan Meals for sharing these photos of her magnificent garden. Her husband, Dr. Roy Meals, spends 2-3 hours each day caring for it, and we can all see that he is greatly rewarded. The colors, textures, statues and follies are truly a feast for the eyes.







I ask that you share photos of what is growing in your garden too. Just send them to our office at

With hope and gratitude,


Below you will find my recipe for a refreshing Lemon Rosemary Cookie. Enjoy!

Lemon Rosemary Butter Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks lightly beaten
Zest of one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice
½ t salt
1T chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
½ cup coarse sparkling sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice and beat until smooth.
Sprinkle the salt, rosemary and flour on top of the sugar mixture. Beat on low speed until the dough comes together with no streaks of flour remaining.
Pat the dough into a ball and set on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and pat it down into a rectangle about ½ inch thick with your hands. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the coarse sugar in a bowl.
Lightly flour your counter top then place the dough on top. Flour a rolling pin, and roll your dough out to about ¼ inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or a small juice glass, cut circles of dough out. Roll the edges of the dough in the coarse sugar then line up on the parchment paper, spacing at least 1 inch apart. Re-roll and cut dough until none remains. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are very light golden brown and centers look set.

Click here for a copy of this recipe

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