Your Guide in Touring 42 of Los Angeles’ Best Gardens in Two Days

Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 2:19 am

Theodore Payne Foundation will host a two-day self-guided tour through more than 40 of the Los Angeles region’s most beautiful professionally-designed gardens as well as public landscapes this weekend, April 5-6, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The gardens, numbered 1 to 42 by the organizers, include four of Pasadena’s very own such as the Garden 30 or the three-acre Arlington Garden; No. 27, a one-third acre “eclectic green space” around a classic Bungalow-style home; No. 29, a cottage-style landscape; and No. 31, which features a “wild” woodland that attracts native insects, birds and butterflies.

The gardens will be divided into two groups—the first group will be opened on Saturday and will cover primarily those on the Westside, with locations from Santa Monica to the South Bay, with two stops in Oxford Square (near West Adams). The second group, which will open on Sunday, are those located inland, with destinations in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and around downtown Los Angeles.

Participants will meet garden owners, designers and fellow gardeners at each location. Knowledgeable docents will also be on site to welcome tour attendees, validate tickets, and talk about the beauty, practicality and environmental benefits of gardens.

“Private garden owners–many of whom designed and installed their own landscapes–will be on site to share secrets of their success,” said Margaret Oakley Otto, coordinator for the Annual Theodore Payne Foundation Native Plant Garden Tour.

New features this year

Those who have been joining the annual garden tour for the past decade will have 15 gardens new on their lists including the Arlington garden in Pasadena as well as a two-year-old front yard in South Pasadena, which uses less water and energy.

Another new features this year are art installations by Los Angeles-based contemporary artists at 11 selected tour gardens. Using diverse concepts and media, the artists in this outdoor exhibition will explore challenging issues of art, culture and human’s relationship with nature. The participating artists are:Ann Hadlock, Blue McRight, Christine Nguyen, Devon Tsuno, Fred Rose, Jacqueline Suskin, Lauren Kasmer, Michael Lewis Miller, Nancy Kyes, Pamela Burgess and Pat Warner.

Many of the artists will be present to discuss their works. Artworks will also be for sale, with 15 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Gardens by features

The tour is self-guided so visitors can make their own itinerary and go at their own pace. They may also only visit the gardens that feature their interests.

Contemporary art lovers may go to the 23-year-old Garden 1 in Beverly Hills which showcases a dry stream bed, several bird-friendly water features, a newly constructed hillside staircase, a fine succulent collection, and an exemplary cat run that give felines time outside while keeping the birds safe.

Also for the contemporary art enthusiasts is the Garden 27 in Pasadena which includes drought-tolerant native and non-native plants, a dry stream bed beneath an old incense cedar, and a low-care parking strip.

Participants who are searching for coastal gardens may skip toward the Garden 7 in Brentwood which has an ascending drive that leads to a three-year-old, 2,000-square-foot front yard of sage, buckwheat and penstemon. It also has other drought-tolerant natives that provide color, support wildlife. and tolerate heavy soil.

The coastal theme is also featured in the Gardens 9, 10 and 11 in Santa Monica, and Gardens 15 and 16 in Manhattan Beach. Inland gardens, meanwhile, can be seen in all the four gardens featured in Pasadena, as well as in Gardens 2, 3 and 4 in Mid-city.

Butterflies are common features in all the 42 gardens except Garden 34 in Eagle Rock. Birds will be on view in almost all the locations except Garden 1 in Beverly Hills, Garden 33 in Pasadena and Garden 34 in Eagle Rock.

For those who will bring their kids with them, visit child-friendly gardens such as Nos. 27 and 30 in Pasadena, No. 33 in South Pasadena, No. 36 in Burbank and No. 13 in Del Rey.

Participants may also visit several National Wildlife Federation Certified Habitat landscapes in the tour such as all the four gardens in Pasadena, Garden 15 in Manhattan Beach, Garden 18 in Lomita and Garden 19 in Long Beach.

Tour tickets are $15 for members, and $20 for non-members. Tickets are available online at, by phone at (818) 768-1802, or at the foundation’s Sun Valley headquarters, 10459 Tuxford St. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at select gardens.

Each ticket includes admission for a single visitor to all gardens on both days, and a printed color guide with addresses and driving directions.

Visitors were reminded that pictures taken are for personal use only and that written permission from individual garden owners is required before posting or publishing any photos.

The Native Plant Garden Tour is an annual program of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 1960 to promote knowledge and appreciation of California’s native flora and our natural heritage. For more information, visit

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