Descanso Gardens officials were urged this week by local residents to keep its proposed “Oak Woodland” project as natural and educational as possible.
If all goes according to plan, Descanso will open this new garden — its first expansion in more than two decades — in the summer of 2014. To encourage community participation in the project, a workshop was held Tuesday in Van de Kamp Hall that drew about 50 people.
The participants were given a presentation on the history of the gardens and the plans for the Oak Woodland, and then split into groups to brainstorm.
Brian Sullivan, the gardens' director of horticulture, displayed a map and emphasized that it was a rough conceptual plan that will evolve, not a finalized planting plan.
New elements proposed include a closed-off bird habitat within the larger oak woodland, and watersheds west of Descanso's lake.
When the small groups reconvened to present their suggestions, two major themes emerged: a desire to keep the new woodland as natural as possible, and a desire for a strong educational element.