Sustainable Rain Garden to Replace Vacant Eyesore

What is currently an unused parcel of land soon will be transformed into a beautiful and self-sustaining garden incorporating rock swales and basins designed to hold rain water on site for drought-tolerant native plants

Published : Monday, April 23, 2012 | 2:52 PM

Sustainability and civic improvement are high priorities in Pasadena, and city government works hard to put them into practice together whenever possible. That’s why Pasadena’s departments of Water and Power (PWP), Public Works, and the Planning Department’s Cultural Arts Division are partnering with local businesses to design and build a rain garden on a small piece of vacant, city-owned property at the southwest corner of Union and Catalina streets. The garden will be aesthetically pleasing and instructive at the same time.

What is currently an unused parcel of land soon will be transformed into a beautiful and self-sustaining garden incorporating rock swales and basins designed to hold rain water on site for drought-tolerant native plants. Drip irrigation will be installed to minimize water use during the summer months. Colorful, ornamental Red Bud trees and a new fence, benches, trash bins and picnic table will be added, and a colorful artwork, part of the city’s Rotating Public Art Exhibition program, will serve as a focal point for the beautiful new garden.

On Saturday, April 28, PWP will host a Rain Garden Workshop on the site from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. Work on the new garden will begin that morning, and Pamela Berstler of G3-Green Gardens Group will use the project to show how anyone can build a rain garden of sustainable native plants. Artist Christie Beniston will also be on hand to discuss her creation “Topiaries,” which is installed at the rain garden site. The rain garden concept is so popular with Pasadena homeowners that registration for this hands-on educational clinic is already filled.

The garden should be about half complete by the end of the day. The remainder of the planting and irrigation will be finished shortly thereafter by the city and its contractors.