Arlington Garden Celebrates 18 Years of Growing a Garden Instead of a Freeway

Published on Sep 13, 2023

Arlington Garden in Pasadena is celebrating its 18th anniversary with Autumn in the Garden on Sunday, October 8th. A VIP reception before the event will honor former Pasadena City Manager Cynthia Kurtz and Arlington’s founding board member George Brumder. The pivotal involvement of these two members of the Pasadena community led to the creation of the free Mediterranean climate garden in 2005.

Autumn in the Garden (5:00-7:30 p.m.) will feature live music presented by sound experience producer Floating. Attendees are invited to listen to music, socialize, and wander the garden during the twilight hours. Awards will be presented at the VIP reception from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Arlington Garden was created in 2005 on a staging ground for the 710 freeway by the late Betty and Charles “Kicker” McKenney working with Cynthia Kurtz, Pasadena Councilmember Steve Madison, and many volunteers who, according to the McKenneys, donated “money, rocks, plants, trees, benches, pots, bird baths, and more” in addition to their time.

The garden was inspired by Jan Smithen’s book Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style. The McKenneys worked with designer Mayita Dinos to create a free garden celebrating Southern California’s unique climate–only one of five such climates in the world. The garden has since evolved to become a one of a kind, regenerative habitat garden, demonstrating how landscapes can respond to climate change, and, writes Executive Director Michelle Matthews, “help to reconceive beauty as something that grows, changes, and most of all lives.”

Awardee George Brumder has led the governing boards of the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, and the USC Pacific Asia Museum, among many others. He is past president and founding member of Arlington Garden’s board and continues to serve as a member.

Cynthia Kurtz has held many prominent positions in the non-profit and public sectors. As former City Manager of Pasadena, she helped build Arlington Garden in 2005. She currently represents the City of Pasadena on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and serves on the Advisory Board for Leadership Pasadena as well as the City of Pasadena’s 710 Corridor Planning Committee.

Arlington Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit selected by State Senator Anthony Portantino as Senate District 25’s California Nonprofit of the Year in 2019.

Visit EventBrite for tickets and more information about the event.

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