Virgina Robinson Gardens-Beverly Hills California
I love going to botanical gardens. Those that are apart of an estate with an interesting history even better. As a child two of my favorite books were The Secret Garden and Tom’s Midnight Garden. Many of you have probably heard of The Secret Garden. Tom’s Midnight Garden was about a boy who has to go stay with his aunt an uncle when his little brother gets the measles. They live in an old home with a parking lot next to it but at night when the old clock strikes ’13’ instead of 12 Tom goes downstairs to see what time is shown on the clock face. When he does he finds that part of the home is transformed. He is even more amazed when he opens the door to where the parking lot usually is and finds a beautiful garden. He meets a young girl there and it is just a fun and magical story-the why’s of what is happening is explained at the end. I am always reminded of these stories when I visit a place like this.
This estate has a very interesting history itself. The mansion was built in 1911 and was one of the first homes in Beverly Hills. Virginia Dryden married Harry Robinson-the son of the chairman of the Boston Dry Goods store which late became J.W. Robinsons retail stores. The plot of land they purchased was originally owned by the founder of Beverly Hills, Burton Green. Harry passed away in 1932 and Virginia was made the chairwoman of the J.W. Robinson chain. They did not have any children.
The estate became famous for its parties, attended by the royalty of Hollywood such as Mae West, Fred Astaire, and Marlene Dietrich. Mrs. Robinson was also friends with Lillian Disney, Walt Disney’s wife. We were not permitted to take photos in the home but the rooms were beautiful and it was amazing to stand there imagining these people hanging out there.
What I loved the most though were all of the gardens on the property. They are on multiple levels. There is a palm forest that you can walk down into that was simply breathtaking-no single photo could capture what walking through that was like. Above is the greenhouse-love it!
This may be my favorite image from my visit, the servants used to live in this building I believe. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful!
I took this next photo while we were waiting for the tour to begin. At first glance I thought these were real monkeys but they are not. They represent the real ones that did once live here. They were often allowed to roam the property freely but we were told one of them was once accused of being a peeping Tom so after that their freedom was limited.
Here are a few more photos I took while on the tour.
The estate is open for docent tours but you must call and make a reservation in order to go on one. The cost is $11. They host an amazing event every May that involves touring a total of 5 estates in the area, a fashion show and lunch on the property and much more. The rooms of the mansion are decorated by top floral designers in the area for the event-I would love to go to this!
To see a collage of these plus some other photos not featured here please view my album on Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/117173444820116260805/albums/5659369673955148113