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

Thoughts From Friends: Natasha Gregson Wagner

“Hey Clover, how would you like to pick raspberries today?” Clover is eating a bowl of cereal, and I am drinking coffee. “Where would we pick them, mama?” “There is a raspberry patch down the road. Thought it could be a new experience for us.” “Sure, mama,” Clover answers. We have been riding out the pandemic at our log cabin in northern Michigan since March. The mid-July sun was high, the blue sky bright and friendly. The buzz, buzz of bees was our soundtrack as we plucked the tender fruit from its bushes. Willy, our faithful, furry companion, looping in and out of the rows of raspberries, was enjoying the fruit himself. “I never realized that the best raspberries hide in the back of the bush, mama,” Clover said

Thoughts from Friends: Jeanne Anderson

“Happiness is a work of art. Handle with care.” Edith Wharton For me, gardens have always been a place where dreams can someday come true. Someday became TODAY last March when I decided to fulfill the dreams I had for my home and garden. I had already read my coffee-table garden books from cover to cover, and I decided it was time to purchase things I loved and hire people who would work safely and make my surroundings cozier

Thoughts from Friends: Worthy McCartney

I’m Worthy McCartney, and I have been associated with Robinson Gardens and the Friends for a number of years. What a delight it is to always drive up Elden and walk through the entry into the best-kept secret in Beverly Hills…the beautiful gardens, palm trees, flowers, the décor, scents, and beauty that all scream the best of California… My love for the beauty of California is practically lifelong…having first arrived when my father was transferred here with the Air Force in 1974… At that time, I lived in Orange County which was one strawberry field after another… South Coast Plaza was not yet built out, and a ride up the 405 was quick to my Alma Mater, UCLA… Not long after arriving, my mom and I visited Catalina Island because she had originally visited it on a trip after high school with a girlfriend in 1946. They took the steamer to the Island. The moment I arrived at the harbor, I thought Catalina was simply magical... That joy remains today, and I appreciate the Island more today for its pristine beauty and conservation efforts

Thoughts from Friends: Superintendent Timothy Lindsay

Wild and Exotic Birds of the Virginia Robinson Gardens A hawk seeks water or an unsuspecting visitor at the cherub fountain on a warm March day. The phrase, “Birds of a feather flock together,” is at least over 470 years old. It was in use as far back as the mid-16th century and was inspired by the flocking behavior of birds when foraging for food or flying in formation during seasonal migrations. This concept is sometimes applied metaphorically to people who act in similar ways. One early spring morning, Friends members flocked together with a naturalist, Darrow Feldstein, who guided us on a garden bird watch. While we moved in predictable formation, we were singularly focused on observing “only” birds in the garden. It turned out to be a cognitive revelation. We enjoyed the garden for the first time with only one objective in mind

Thoughts from Friends: Beth Rudin DeWoody

As a child, I attended the Rudolph Steiner School in New York City. I was there for eight years. Art making and crafts were a big part of my education as well as eurythmics and music. I knitted, sewed and did macramé; I made a bamboo recorder and carved wood. For every subject, we had to make a “good book,” with each page illustrated with colored pencils

Thoughts from Friends: Barbara Sayre Casey

“So, shall we come to look at the world with new eyes” - Ralph Waldo Emerson From the towering Tetons to the rapidly rippling Snake River, the beauty of Jackson Hole stuns the senses every day. One never grows immune to the magnificence of its mountains nor the openness of thousands of acres of green grassland ranches. I have had a home here for 25 years, but it is only this year that I have lived here fully and found myself looking at my world with new eyes each day.

A Swedish Christmas

It is a pleasure for me to share some of my fond memories of the Swedish Christmas traditions and the cuisine that followed me from my homeland when I moved to the United States at age 22.

November in Sweden is probably my least favorite month. The snow has not yet fallen to brighten up the landscape. It is dark, gloomy, and it rains a lot.

When December and Advent comes, Swedes seem uplifted.

They hang lit paper stars in their windows, take out the Advent candles, and the baking and prepping for Christmas begins. Gingerbread cookies and special candies are made, and the stores are full of Christmas decorations. The churches and schools have their holiday programs. Little children get their Advent calendars, and each day they open a window to find a small chocolate confirming a day closer to when Santa arrives.

Thoughts from Friends: Kennon Klein-McCarthy

"To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can't see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life." - Nancy Reagan

My dearest friend Luke Anderson and new friend Jeanne Anderson were kind enough to introduce me to the magical gardens at the Virginia Robinson Estate. The summer of 2019 was a difficult time for my family with my father's passing and my mother feeling lost and a bit out of sorts. My parents were married over 50 years, my mother marrying my father at the youthful age of 20. Losing her life partner was devastating as many of you may know all too well.

Thoughts from Friends: Keeley Smith

"There isn't a tree in the world that the wind hasn't shaken."

I first encountered this Hindu proverb in 2015. I had travelled to Southwestern India to live a month in a one room grass hut on the beach of the Arabian Sea, studying and practicing yogic philosophies and learning to unwind. It was in this attempt to discover life's greater meaning, when its heft was placed upon me by my yoga teacher. Hearing those words just weeks after my relocation to Los Angeles from New York, I must admit their poignancy fell on my deaf ears. Island life on Manhattan can predispose one to an attitude that there isn't really an existence beyond the granite and concrete of one the world's most diverse and exciting anything-is-possible, go-go-go cities.
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