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 JC Griffith, our great IT expert. JC has worked tirelessly for the Friends. He works with our fantastic Patty Elias who has organized and revamped our website with so much flair and style. In addition to working on the Happenings with the editor Linda Meadows, he works with our wonderful President Betty Goldstein, fabulous Jeanne Anderson and amazing Education co-chair Clare Wagner on many emails and invitations. We are so appreciative of JC’s wonderful work and all his efforts for the Happenings, website, and invitations to make them look so professional, polished, and beautiful
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in Dubai On March 4th, I arrived in Dubai and proceeded to participate for the next four days in the 15th Anniversary of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. We celebrated the impact that the support of 260 women entrepreneurs from 60 countries has made on this world. The bird has a cap on its head and a popsicle stick for pulling off the cap. The owner covers his eyes, so the flash does not bother the bird. Why Dubai? Over the course of the expo which opened last October and closes at the end of March, Cartier has proudly created a Women’s Pavilion which has been highly visited during these last few months. The focus on this pavilion has been a number of issues with one of the key issues focusing on our planet’s most precious resource, water.
Rescheduled from December 2021, our book club finally met to discuss famed actress Mae West in the book by Charlotte Chandler titled She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography. What a unique and talented star she was! The book had many interesting quotes and a fulsome discussion of the life and times of women of her generation. Mae was a true combination of the influences of her corset-model mother and boxer father. She was admired for working hard. By her speech and by example, she expanded the influence of women in her industry. Vive la difference, Mae! We had such a nice group of approximately 15 participants who enjoyed delicious scones, tea sandwiches, cookies, and gougères. There were two “winners” of the “diamond” ring and bracelet prizes who correctly guessed the answers to questions about the book asked by co-chair Patricia Cowett! A photo was circulated showing Virginia and Mae socializing with George Cukor.
On March 15, 2022, Wendy Sue Knecht regaled the audience at the Virginia Robinson Gardens with fascinating tales from her years as a Pan Am flight attendant from 1979 to 1991. Education co-chair Clare Wagner introduced Wendy and said she is multi-talented. Since her Pan Am career, she successfully ran an import-export business, designs travel bags and accessories, and is a health care advocate. Elegantly attired in her Adolfo-designed uniform and pearls, Wendy charmed and delighted the guests sitting on the Tennis Court Observation Deck near the beautiful Display Rose Garden. Her first uniform was designed by famed Hollywood designer Edith Head. Wendy enthused, “This is the prettiest setting I’ve ever given a talk in and with the prettiest ladies!”
Jeff Hyland, a long-time generous supporter of the Virginia Robinson Gardens and President of Hilton and Hyland, a real estate firm in Beverly Hills, sadly passed away on February 16, 2022. He generously gave of his time and resources to benefit Robinson Gardens. Jeff assisted in securing private gardens for our annual Garden Tour fundraiser and donated a historic city map of Beverly Hills that shows the Robinson estate. In addition, he created our stunning logo with the image of the Sumner Hunt-designed Pool Pavilion at Robinson Gardens. Jeff and his wife Lori were so inspired by the hens for the Children's Science Program in the Kitchen Garden that they raised a brood of their own on their ranch!
On March 16, 2022, the Friends of Robinson Gardens were so happy to honor Joan Selwyn, the founder of the Friends and to celebrate our 40-year anniversary at a luncheon at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. The celebration was a beautiful one, mirroring the multi-talented Joan who is beautiful inside and out and an enchanting inspiration for us all. A gifted writer and a talented artist, Joan imbues whatever she does with kindness, charm, style, and tremendous grace. On the Tennis Observation Deck by the Display Rose Garden, President Betty Goldstein welcomed and thanked the guests for coming, many past Presidents among them, as well as Joan’s children, Marc Selwyn and Laura Wyatt. Betty also welcomed our new incoming Superintendent Diane Sipos. Betty said, “It has been my good fortune to work with Joan these last few years…She is a brilliant woman, a lovely lady to work with, and it’s really been my pleasure to get to know her better. We are so happy to have this luncheon for her today.”