Well, darlings, Dig-It-Blog’s most popular post, day in and out, has been “Garden Visits in the Hamptons,” (now updated with new and better pictures). What’s behind those hedges and gates, people want to know. So, last week, off to the city of my birth, La-La-Land, one thing was foremost in my mind, capturing the best “Garden Visits in Beverly Hills” for your viewing pleasure.
I know you don’t want to take the bus tour of stars’ homes, and a drive along Sunset Boulevard isn’t going to reveal very much. So last Wednesday, I met my friend Sara Guggenheim at Virginia Robinson Gardens, a six-acre property that’s open by appointment for group tours. Sara and I took, as it’s described in the brochure, “a tour which reflects an era of gracious living and legendary hospitality and provides visitors with a tangible link to the rich past that is Beverly Hills.” (BTW, I grew up in the flats of Inglewood, which has its own multicultural charm, not in the hills of Beverly.)
Herewith, highlights of our North-of-Sunset afternoon, which began at the Renaissance Revival Pool Pavilion, built in 1924, modeled after an Italian villa.
The Robinsons, the late Mr. and Mrs. Harry Winchester Robinson, were heirs to the J.W. Robinison department store empire. Their Mediterranean Classic Revival home at 1008 Elden Way just off Crescent Drive—its living rooms and library were the next stops on the tour—is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house, below, was built in 1911, was the site of much grand entertaining. It and the grounds are now managed by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation; Virginia Robinson was a trustee of Hollywood Bowl, and she liked they way they took care of it.
I was most taken by the Palm Garden’s luscious underplantings of hot-orange blooming Clivia, below, often grown in as a houseplant, as is Monstera deliciosa, above, also known as split-leaf philodendron.
The beauty above is Echium candicans or Echium fastuosum, Pride of Madeira, which the docent-guide told us was just beyond its peak. During our tour, the many large clumps on the property sparkled in the sunshine.
Want to see more? The Friends of Robinson Gardens are sponsoring “Under the Tuscan Sun,” a benefit bash on Friday, May 13 from 10 to 4. The event will include tours of fthis property and four other private gardens in Beverly Hills, floral and design exhibitions, a gift boutique, and an outdoor luncheon and fashion show.