Beautiful and educational

Demonstration garden aims to teach residents a lesson about sustainability.

May 13, 2010|By Megan O’Neil

La Cañada Valley Beautiful on Saturday will celebrate its most recent project — a 12,000-square-foot drought-resistant garden at the city’s library.

The demonstration garden was designed by Cassy Aoyagi, founder of FormLA, a Tujunga-based landscaping firm, and was completed in two stages. The first stage in 2008 saw California-native species planted along Oakwood Avenue. A year later, Aoyagi installed Mediterranean plants in the parkway at the front entrance of the library. The scale of the project wasn’t visible until the plants bloomed this spring.

“When I first put it in, I had people coming up to me terrified about how small everything was, and I just kept telling everybody to be patient; this is how you get a sustainable project,” Aoyagi said.


The celebration at the La Cañada Flintridge Library starts at 2 p.m. and will include an informal presentation on drought-resistant landscaping. Attendees will be given a copy of the project plan that can serve as a model for property owners interested in planting their own drought-tolerant gardens.

With a statewide drought and climbing water prices, there is a burgeoning interest in native gardens, said La Cañada Valley Beautiful President Carolyn Hanna.

“We thought it was such a good fit for the library to have a demonstration garden so the plants could be labeled and the people of the community could learn about a sustainable garden,” Hanna said.

La Cañada Valley Beautiful, which depends on volunteers and donations to execute its beautification projects, spent about $40,000 on the garden, said projects chairman Linda Fults. The organization will also pay for the upkeep of the landscaping to ensure its longevity, Fults added.

“I love the different textures. I love the blossoms,” Fults said. “I am very pleased with the way it turned out.”

The project is catching the attention of community members, said Library Manager Mark Totten.

“Not only are people asking what the individual plants are, but they are also checking out books on native plants for landscaping,” Totten said.

La Cañada Beautiful, which has more than 300 members, is also fundraising to install an additional 3,000 square feet of landscaping at the library to include South African, Chilean and Australian species, Hanna said.

“All of us like for La Cañada to be attractive,” Hanna said. “We are committed to doing exactly that.”

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