Congratulations to Buzz contributor Emina Darakjy who was recently recognized by the Friends of the Virginia Robinson Gardens for her contributions as a volunteer for this wonderful LA County treasure. Our thanks to the VRG for letting us share this with Buzz readers who know Emina as our tree expert.
Spotlight on Emina Darakjy
Each month we spotlight a volunteer, staff member, docent, donor, or sponsor of the Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG) — those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you know about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to The Virginia Robinson Gardens and to the community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Emina Darakjy, a wonderful Garden Tour volunteer and Society Member. Thanks to Emina’s efforts, we had two great classes open to the public on orchids and roses taught by experts from the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. She wrote excellent articles on these lectures and is a great photographer as well. Muli-talented and multi-lingual, she speaks five languages – Italian, French, English, Arabic, and German.
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a docent?
I found out about the VRG from my friend Jeanne Anderson. I met Jeanne several years ago when she was co-chairing The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days with Joseph Marek, and I would volunteer to be a captain at one of the lovely gardens on the tour.
2. What is your role – how do you contribute to VRG?
After getting to know Jeanne, I became a member of the VRG, and she invited me to volunteer for the annual Garden Tour event by being a Van Hostess which I enjoyed very much. I did that for many years until COVID hit and the tours stopped. I am glad the Garden Tour resumed again this year, and I was able to volunteer in an incredibly beautiful garden in May.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
The first time I walked into the VRG, I was blown away by how beautiful the place is. I stood in front of the Estate for a while admiring the meadow of wildflowers that looked like a Monet Garden! There were other sights I fell in love with on that first visit such as the King Palm Forest, a perfect collection, one of the largest ones I have ever seen and the huge bougainvillea by the tennis court — it too is one of the largest ones I have ever seen — and how can I not mention the stunning Pool Pavilion? I take photos of it every time I visit.
I love gorgeous architecture, beautiful flowers, and trees, and this gem of a place has them all!
4. Please add any additional information you would like to share!
One of my longest involvements as a volunteer has been at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens where I have been a docent for more than 20 years. I am happy I was able to get two of our Huntington staff to do a talk at the VRG this year.
Another passion of mine has been planting trees throughout Pasadena on behalf of Pasadena Beautiful for many years.
I am president of the California Urban Forests Council and write articles on trees. You can read some of them in the “Larchmont BUZZ.”
Speaking of trees, you may have noticed our local Jacaranda trees are blooming. It seemed so late this year. Thanks to TreesofLa for this explanation posted on Instagram.
“Jacarandas – Why did the Jacarandas bloom so late this year? Jacarandas usually bloom in LA between April and May but we are experiencing a PURPLE SUMMER this year due to our especially wet and foggy spring. Jacarandas are subtropical* trees that use heat as their cue to bloom. Heat triggers a hormone called florigen in the Jacarandas that travels from the leaves into the trees’ circulatory system to give the buds the GREEN LIGHT to bloom. Glad that time is finally here!”
We are too!