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[City Sleuth] Los Feliz Gardens Featured in Garden Conservancy’s “Open Days”

“Open Days,” the Garden Conservancy’s program to showcase and preserve America’s most distinctive public and private gardens, came to Los Feliz on May 5th. Some 600 visitors walked up steep hills and down narrow garden paths, beginning at Fern Dell—a onetime garden oasis in Griffith Park now sunk to hard times because of municipal budget constraints. In the process the guests discovered a wide variation in the type of garden: some formal and reliant upon water; others using the principles of water conservation. Overcast skies provided comfortable temperatures and an unshaded perspective of Mother Nature.

“We had 1,000 guests last week for Pasadena Open Days,” coordinator Joseph Marek warned the 40 volunteers who gathered the day before to undergo training. “But that community has participated in Open Days for at least a dozen years, and this is our first time featuring Los Feliz.”

One of the six Open Days gardens belonged to noted garden designer Judy M. Horton, whose practice is located at 136 1/2 N. Larchmont Blvd. While it contained water thirsty plants like hydrangea, the Horton garden proliferated with drought-resistant aloe, pig’s ears, agave and salvia.

“My garden is filled with plants I love,” she said, “from the ordinary, like nasturtiums, poppies and pelargoniums, to the unusual. I try out the more unique by putting them in pots in the driveway and along the back of the house.”

Horton became an advocate for the Garden Conservancy on the west coast in the 1990s when the New York based non-profit began to expand into the rest of the country. As a garden activist, Horton organized the Coalition to Save the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden that hangs under a legal cloud as Hannah Carter’s heirs fight UCLA over the Japanese Garden’s destiny. In April, an injunction from Los Angeles Superior Court was issued against sale of the property, and UCLA has asked for a hearing in an appeals court.

The Garden Conservancy uses the Open Days program to strengthen the public’s commitment to garden preservation. Selecting gardens that are “living works of art,” the organization uses a set of criteria which can be translated into practical use for those of us who visit nurseries to stock our own yards. The nine criteria for being selected include unity and harmony of design; appropriateness of design to the setting; innovative use of the site or plantings; interesting collection of plants; aesthetic groupings of plants; unique intermingling of plants or colors and textures; aspects that educate, enlighten and inspire the visitor; and finally, ecologically sound design and maintenance techniques.

To track Open Days weekends taking place in other parts of the country, go online to The $5 per garden fee for visitors is a real value.



This entry was posted
on Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at 7:00 am and is filed under Su Casa Real Estate.
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