Thoughts from Friends: Rodney Kemerer

This Christmas Season looks like it is going to be a lot like last year. The Pandemic lockdown has cancelled the usual activities and it feels like a total loss to everyone. Within that loss is a hidden gift, much like the one you find tucked into the tree branches after all the gifts are opened. That gift this year is the gift of memory. Rather than being caught up in the usual frenzy, we now have time to sit back and look back to Christmas Past. To things we never realized that are woven into our Holiday Memory Bank. My father, rest his soul, was cheap. I believe both by necessity and personality. This presented itself in odd ways and, mostly when I was a kid, they were annoying to me. Like saving every coffee can that came into the house or, worse, every piece of cardboard. Christmas presented a special challenge for him in that it was hard to avoid the usual related expenses. One that he carefully circumvented was The Christmas Tree Lot. There was something about paying for a dead tree for limited use that chewed at my father’s very fiber

Mumsey Nemiroff Discusses Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in the Art World at the Virginia Robinson Gardens

The Virginia Robinson Gardens played host this past month to an intimate salon featuring guest speaker Mumsey Nemiroff. An experienced lecturer, having taught at UCLA for two decades on the subject of art connoisseurship, Mumsey recently spent a particularly gorgeous November morning illuminating just over two dozen Friends and their friends about the art of collecting. “Understand what you’re buying,” she advises. “Buyer beware, always.” In spotting a fake, Mumsey has identified six criteria to help collectors successfully procure genuine art: age, condition, rarity, aesthetic, provenance, and price. “Always beware of the words unique and rare,” she cautions.

Welcome Back…Into the Garden 2021 Garden Tour a Magical Event

In the words of co-chair Jeanne Anderson, “Love was in the air” at the members-only Welcome Back…into the Garden Garden Tour on October 23, 2021. This intimate and lovely celebration was a gift given with love to the steadfast, loyal, and generous Friends who supported the Virginia Robinson Gardens during the difficult times of the pandemic when the Gardens were mostly closed, and events were few and far between. Co-chairs Maralee Beck, Jeanne Anderson, and President Betty Goldstein, and Committee Members Elaine Stein, Kerstin Royce, Dana Reston, Lynn Whitaker, Evie Carlson, Patty Reinstein, and Keely Smith all worked together to create this magnificent event for the Friends and their guests. The founder of the Friends, Joan Selwyn, remarked that it was “a very elegant and first-class event. The gardens were extraordinary -- the best ever!”

Our Garden Tour Star Jelena Trifunovic, Owner of Viola Floral

Every month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated in our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations. This month, we are featuring florist Jelena Trifunovic, owner of Viola Floral. At the 2021 Garden Tour, Jelena created breathtaking and exquisite floral displays in the Yellow Salon in the house at VRG. After the tour, she donated these stunning flowers to her church and families affected by cancer. On December 7th, Jelena will be teaching a Holiday Wreath Making class, in-person at the Gardens and virtually for those who want to follow at home! We asked Jelena these four questions:

Message From President Betty Goldstein

“The light of the Sun begins a new solar cycle at Winter Solstice...In winter everything lies dormant in the silent earth, it is a sacred time of rest and reflection before the awakening and the slow build toward brighter days.” Dear Friends, December is the month that brings us the winter solstice, the time when the day is short and the night is long. Astronomically for those living in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the beginning of lengthening days and shortening nights, also called the longest night. This month has always been the month of celebrations from the time of pagan rituals to the present, a festive time of music, dinners, parties, and family gatherings. A time spent with loved ones celebrating traditional holidays, it is a reminder of the importance of family and friends. In my family, we celebrate as many holidays as we can, this month -- Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day, and birthday celebrations as well.