Senator Portantino Taps Arlington Garden as Nonprofit of the Year

Published : Wednesday, June 5, 2019 | 5:04 AM

The only free dedicated public garden in Pasadena, one where regenerative environmental practices hold sway, has been chosen by State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D) as the 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year from the 25th Senate District.

Arlington Garden said in a June 4 statement that it was chosen for its “outstanding service to the community.”

“Today, with the help of dozens of volunteers and regenerative practices, we have turned a barren three-acre lot that sat empty for some 45 years into a flourishing botanical garden,” said Leigh Talmo, Arlington’s director of horticulture.

Area residents led by Betty and Charles "Kicker" McKenney transformed an empty, dry and dusty lot (at top), into a lush public garden (below).

Talmo will join representatives from 100 other nonprofits chosen by state senators and members of the assembly in Sacramento June 5, for California Nonprofits Day.

It is, said Jan Masaoka, chief executive officer, California Association of Nonprofits, “an opportunity for them to shine.”

The garden is more than an arrangement of plants and trees. It is a nexus for activity focused around conserving and mending the earth. It is a place where visitors return as volunteers who apply what they’ve learned to the care of their personal environments.

The first plantings were done in 2005, their inspiration rooted in “Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style,” a book written by Jan Smithen.

The goal was to create a water-wise garden that was appropriate to California’s Mediterranean climate. “The garden,” say its caretakers, “demonstrates how beautiful and practical a well-planned, water-conserving and climate-appropriate garden can be.”

The tiny Eden serves as refuge to people, pets and fauna native to Pasadena and environs. Birds, bees, butterflies and other messengers from the cycle of life are witnessed there year-round.

Entry is free, and for a small tithe there are tours, workshops, and field trips related to regenerative gardening.

The Arlington Garden is three acres in size and thrives on land owned by Caltrans, leased to the City of Pasadena, and entrusted to the nonprofit.

Learn more about this unique local resource here:

blog comments powered by Disqus