Thursday, July 03, 2014
Virginia Robinson Gardens
When I was visiting Los Angeles last March, I had the opportunity to tour the beautiful Virginia Robinson Gardens. Built in 1911 and commissioned by Harry and Virginia Robinson (of Robinson department stores,) the gardens and house are considered to be the first luxury estate built in Beverly Hills, thus earning the Gardens a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Robinsons' house, whose decor has been left intact since Virginia Robinson died in 1977, is like taking a step back in time. Mrs. Robinson, who was widowed in 1932, was considered to be one of Los Angeles's leading hostesses and philanthropists- dual roles that required her to entertain frequently in her elegant yet comfortable home. The house has "good flow", as we say today, which must have made the house an ideal location for parties. And yet, the house isn't a behemoth like so many of the estates being built today. How refreshing.
But it is the estate's gardens that are truly unforgettable. Some are formal, while others, such as the Palm Forest, are downright exotic and tropical. When touring the gardens, it is hard to believe that you are in the middle of bustling Beverly Hills. The estate is like a quiet, elegant refuge from the glitz and glamour of close-by Rodeo Drive.
The estate is open Tuesday through Friday for docent-led tours, but please keep in mind that you must make a reservation ahead of time in order to participate in the tours. For more information, please visit the estate's website.