I had so much fun attending The Friends of Virginia Robinson Gardens New Member Luncheon last Friday. Actually I joined last year but late in the season so I missed this important introduction. I am so happy to be involved in this group! The Friends of Virginia Robinson Gardens is a non-profit volunteer organization which raises funds to restore and preserve the oldest and one of most beautiful estates in Beverly Hills, the former home of Virginia and Harry Robinson. Mr Robinson was heir to the J. W. Robinson’s Department Store.
We began the day in the Pool House where we met other new members, former chairpersons and committee heads. We learned about the history of the estate and the organization as well as upcoming events. We were also introduced to Tim Lindsay, Superintendent of the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Tim led us through the gardens, pointing out unusual plants such as a rare all white hibiscus and a historic coral tree (one of 203 of California’s Official Big Trees) which provided seedlings for the famous Coral Trees planted along San Vicente Boulevard. We admired the new wildflower meadow which replaced the front lawn grass in a beautiful and creative effort to save water during our current drought. We also toured the interiors where Mrs Robinson entertained friends such as Fred Astaire, Mae West, Lillian Disney and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Each new member was presented with a beautiful Tussie Mussie created by former chair, Jeanne Anderson. A Tussie Mussie is a compact bouquet of flowers and herbs endowed with special meaning and presented in a special cone vase for carrying by hand. Tussie Mussies have been around since the 1400s but were most popular in Victorian England. My Tussie Mussie looked very cute peeking out of my tote bag!
And then it was time for lunch in the garden. Mrs. Robinson traditionally held the Opening Night Gala of the Hollywood Bowl season at her estate after the concert. Members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra would recreate the concert on her great lawn, where our luncheon was held. In homage to those Hollywood Bowl evenings, the luncheon theme was “Hollywood Bowl Picnic” complete with musicians playing during lunch!