Ideas That Matter

Flower Power to Vocal Power

Lisa Gimmy
Flower Power to Vocal Power

From Flower Power to Vocal Power: A Grand Night of Opera at the Virginia Robinson Gardens
Published by Lisa Gimmy, ASLA, LEED AP
Photo Courtesy of El Nido Family Centers

Once the site of glamorous soirees, Virginia Robinson’s legendary Beverly Hills mansion and garden has become a destination for horticulture enthusiasts, landscape architects, admirers of nature…and now, music lovers as well.

A little backstory…

During her lifetime Viginia Robinson led the comfortable life of socialite: playing tennis, throwing lavish parties, swimming in her pool—which was modeled after the famous Villa Pisani in Italy—and, of course, spending time cultivating her extraordinary gardens. Also renowned for her philanthropy, Robinson was one of the last grand dames of the Hollywood era. In her forward-thinking wisdom, she decided to bequeath her home to the county so that future generations could enjoy the gardens.

Since 1982 the organization Friends of Robinson Gardens has been holding an annual tour—to promote this historically significant landmark and to raise funds for preservation and educational programs throughout the year. For the tour, held every third Saturday in May, event organizers bring in florists who literally transform the rooms of the Robinson’s house into flower-filled fantasias.

Flower Power to Vocal Power Flowers
Bouquet by Flowermaid florist (left), Arrangement by Grand Eclair (right), Photos Courtesy of Lisa Gimmy

In this photo below from this past May’s tour, you can see how florist Grand Eclair created a tableau with roses, hydrangeas and peonies literally flowing from the meadow into Virginia’s bedroom.

Flower Power to Vocal Power Arrangement by Grand Eclair
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Gimmy 

One of the loveliest aspects of Robinson’s single-story home is that it is designed to catch the gentle winds that come up the hillside, so that even on the warmest of days, the house remains relatively cool. In this photo of Virgina’s bath, you can see the curtains billowing in the breeze along with Flowermaid’s lovely floral arrangements.

Flower Power to Vocal Power Robinson Bath
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Gimmy

Robinson’s personal garden is a little over five acres and comprises three components: a formal core with the house at the lower end, and a lawn that rises up gradually to the nearby swimming pool and pavilion.

Flower Power to Vocal Power Robinson Pool
Photo Courtesy of Virginia Robinson Gardens

The eastern slope is home to the unique King Palm forest. Outside of Queensland, Australia, there’s no larger grouping of these trees in existence. This section of the garden also contains Plumeria, Ginger and Banana shade-loving subtropicals.

Flower Power to Vocal Power Robinson King Palm
Photo Courtesy of Virginia Robinson Gardens 

The western exposure, being dryer, features Mediterranean plantings.

The Robinsons were part of a large social network within Beverly Hills, so it’s no coincidence that the house and the pool house were designed for hosting parties—which is exactly what Friends of Robinson Gardens is doing: recreating the type of party that Robinson would have had, were she still with us today.

Tomorrow on June 24, 2017, Ann Petersen and Leslie Pam are spearheading a magical summer evening of Opera on the Great Lawn.

Flower Power to Vocal Power Opera on the Great Lawn

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Robinson Gardens 

The concert starts at 5:30 PM and features Pittance Chamber Music artists: Elizabeth Zharov, Soprano; Ashley Faatoalia, Tenor; Helen Zheng Altenbach, Cello and Douglas Sumi, Piano. They will be performing favorite songs and arias in this beautiful garden setting. Attendees can also expect a buffet dinner catered by The Kitchen for Exploring Foods.

For tickets and information:

Opera On the Great Lawn

www.lglalandscape.com
www.robinsongardens.org

Writer and Media Management Consultant Taylor Van Arsdale provided research and contributed to this article.

Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture

Helms Bakery Building
8800 Venice Blvd., Suite 216
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Phone: (310) 202-8320
Fax: (310) 202-8350

info@lglalandscape.com

Creating landscapes for California living

 

Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture is a professional consulting firm offering master planning, site planning, and landscape design. Since its founding in 1992, LGLA has designed landscapes for schools, campuses, boutique hotels, buildings, public parks, estates, and private residences. At LGLA each project is viewed as an opportunity to explore a series of relationships: between the site and the region, architecture and landscape, and most importantly, between the landscape and the people who will use and enjoy it.
RSS

Recent Posts


Archive


    Categories


    Tags

    Japanese gardens Hafley House Kaufman House Craig Elwood Nasher Sculpture Garden Ralph Bacerra Flowermaid Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre Mission Revival Annie Chu fabrics interiors Landscape Architecture Kun II Desert Courtyard House Adolf Loos Lawrence Halprin Villa Pisani Italy granite 9-11 Memorial Thomas D. Church Artecho Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Central Library MoMA, Museum of Modern Art multidisciplinary designer TCLF Kengo Kuma Floating Teehouse Max Palevsky House exhibition design Loewy House mid century architecture furniture David Collins First Point Construction Craftsman Jon and Liliane Lovelace Garden Conservancy Grand Eclair Rose N' Palm Oller & Pejic Courtney Coffman poppies FIDM Wendell Burnette pool landscaping Delta Bluegrass Eugene Kinn Choy, Garden Dialogues, The Cultural Landscape Foundation California Preservation Foundation Cleo Baldon Palm Springs Modernism Elrod House tablescape Lina Loos Ruth Adler Schnee Landscape as Catalyst Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency Lisa Gimmy Marin Ralph Cornell, Malcolm Leland, Howard Troller, UCLA, Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden landscape architecture in los angeles Landscaping Julius Shulman Jeffrey Dahl, John Wooden, Dustin Dorr, Rosemarie Allaire, Yoshikawa toys Los Angeles Conservancy Denise Scott Brown Jack Coyier Bolinas E. Stewart Williams Barbara Lamprecht Gere Kavanaugh Docomomo Award Open Days Leslie Cozzi grasses Garden of Sculpture Deborah Sussman Grand Hope Park Hindry House John Lautner George Hargreaves Howard Rosen Peter Walker Paulette Singley downtown Los Angeles Virginia Robinson Andre Le Notre garden color Landscape Sequence Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Garden Dialogues Lovelace Pool tropical planting Architect's Garden Charles Waldheim Native Mow Free Kitchen for Exploring Foods Carl Andre Vaux le Vicomte Pamela Palmer Ray Eames Maguire Gardens Florence Knoll California natives Allegra Fuller Snyder Friends of Robinson Gardens Herzog and de Meuron Frank Gehry Nord Eriksson Albert Frey Richard Neutra Photography by Marion Brenner TheBlack Desert House Heather Scott Peterson Don Chadwick Darin Marten garden restoration EPT Design rock Dominus Winery Bunker Hill Steps Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture Opera on the Great Lawn Ira Keller Fountain Grace Miller House Soils Solutions Edris House Frank Lloyd Wright Lisa Boone garden design Native Bentgrass, Hafley House, Hindry House, Artificial Turf Koffka/Phakos Design King Palm forest LIght/Breeze House Martin Garden New York landscape architecture Stinson Beach Wells Fargo Plaza Cranbrook Academy of Art Isabelle Green, FASLA mid century landscapes Transforming Small Spaces, Intimate Courtyards, Custom Steel Gates, Velvet Elephant Ear, Kalanchoe Beharensis, Bluestone Pavers, Bourget Brothers, Moroccan Motif Heineman and Heineman Virginia Robinson Gardens Pasadena Craftsman graphic design