A Tour of the Virginia Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills!
Driving to Beverly Hills is always a treat because there are so many beautiful homes to view. But perhaps one of the most historic is the Virginia Robinson home and gardens. Virginia Robinson and her husband, Harry Robinson built the Robinson mansion (it's really not very large compared to today's standards) in 1911. They immediately began collecting exotic specimens for their gardens in their travels. They traveled a lot, perhaps 1/2 the year, because Harry was always on buying junkets for his store, which later became the Robinson Department Store chain.
Unfortunately, Harry died early, at 53, in 1934. His wife, Virginia Robinson, continued to live in the Beverly Hills home which they built, until her death just shy of 100 years old, in 1977. They had no children, and she never remarried. She was a great philanthropist, hostess, and gardener. Her parties in the early days of Beverly Hills were legendary. She hosted stars like Charlie Chaplain, and was great friends with Coco Chanel, Lillian Disney, George Cukor, and Dorothy Chandler.
The history of her garden is like a history of her life. With each new chapter, new plantings and new trees would appear. When she was almost one hundred someone asked her how long it took her to achieve the garden that she so enjoyed. She replied, "An entire lifetime and it's never finished."
The more I work in my little garden, the more I feel that way too. I notice with each season that I am thinking about where to move things, where to put new things, and how to make sure that each plant is well served in its garden space.
Robert and I really enjoyed our time at the Virginia Robinson gardens, but a word about visiting. When we visited the gardens, there were only 2 other guests on our tour - it's a very exclusive ticket (only 8 persons allowed per tour)! The tour took about 1 hour, and we were accompanied the entire time by a volunteer docent. Guests are NOT allowed to wander freely in the gardens; they must always be chaperoned by a guide. That is why you often hear someone speaking in the background in the video.
Reservations can be made online, and the price per person is $15.00. Virginia Robinson bequeathed the estate to Los Angeles County, so that we could all enjoy her beautiful labor of love. Thank you, Virginia.