6th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase

The 6th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase was Saturday, April 26. This Earth Day celebration, presented by the Mar Vista Community Council, seeks to empower Angelenos to adopt environmentally conscious living solutions. With many people walking or biking their tours, there is a tremendous sense of community as garden enthusiasts from throughout Southern California join our neighbors to celebrate our shared vision for a greener life

This year there were fewer gardens, located in one of six walkable/bike-able clusters. Each garden had one or more of the following sustainability features: California native/drought tolerant plantings, edibles or water catchment systems. Visitors could talk with and meet landscapers as well as do-it-yourself gardeners who share knowledge and experience. Special guest presenters at many gardens enhanced their knowledge of sustainability in daily living. At the participating schools, visitors learned how the school gardens contribute to a more sustainable future

Did you miss the tour, or some of the gardens on it? Click here to display a Green Garden Showcase map, then follow the directions to create your own personal tour map. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF GARDEN OWNERS’ PROPERTY. View gardens from the sidewalk unless invited in. Don’t pick anything!

The 2015 Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase will highlight different sustainable garden clusters. Do you have gardens to recommend or questions about eligibility? Would you like to be on the Green Garden Showcase email list? Contact us at gardens@marvista.org. 

The Mar Vista community has an ongoing commitment to encouraging sustainability in all aspects of life. The Green Tent at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market hosts a different eco-presenter each Sunday. Every 4th Sunday, UCCE Master Gardeners visit The Green Tent with seeds, seedlings and advice.

11430 Kingsland St - Cluster 2

Click here for audio description of this garden.

This large garden reflects the owners' growing awareness of the components of sustainable gardens and importance of California native plants - as well as a love of home grown edibles. The Main Gardener is a Green Garden Showcase organizer. 

The garden has evolved over many years and, like an archaeological dig, contains many layers. Camellias planted when this 1948 house was new still bloom profusely. The owners’ green journey began in 2002 with the garden's first ever landscape design (by Linda Endler). This effort removed the lawn, added many trees and defined the basic shape of the garden with DG and broken concrete pathways. When the front yard lawn cover failed, the owners spread redwood chips instead and turned off some sprinkler heads. 

In March, 2010, Gary Kamisher of Gary's Greenery installed drip irrigation, planted the "lawn" area and updated the parkways, using many of his favorite Australian and California natives as well as other eco friendly plants. Old mingled with new in a wonderful mélange.

In 2012 the homeowners added four raised beds for edibles, bringing the total to six beds and 140 square feet. Christy Wilhelmi of Gardenerd provided a 2014 spring planting plan.

Darla Murray Design is completing a major garden refresh just in time for the Showcase. The owners presented Darla with the following goals: make the garden more drought tolerant, favoring California native plants, and easier to maintain; tame the parkways (the Santa Barbara daisies and an invasive geranium were beautiful but out of control); reduce overcrowding. The result is stunning! 

Darla added many new California natives and enhanced the walkways. Some plants were relocated; others found new homes in other people's gardens. The owners especially love the addition of a dry stream bed. There is so much to look at in this garden!

Darla Murray will be at the garden to answer your questions. Guest presenter RepowerLA will have information about free home and business energy upgrades available from LADWP. Printed tour maps will be available.

In addition to the garden, visitors can see several energy upgrades: a tankless 
water heater, solar panels (installed by Constant Solar in 2010) and a recently installed EV charger for which the homeowner received a $2000 rebate. A new weather-base irrigation controller qualifies for a $200 rebate from DWP. 

3664 Boise Avenue - Cluster 4

Click here for audio description of this garden.

One of the garden owners always loved gardening and dreamed of having her own yard to transform. That opportunity presented itself when her family moved into their new house in the fall of 2012. After making the house livable, she set to work on their yard. They considered hiring a landscape designer but, after giving it some thought, decided that it was a project they could manage on their own. As an artist, she has a keen sense of design and style, and loves a good challenge.

Her mission: create a beautiful, drought tolerant, semi-private sanctuary for both her family and wildlife—especially honey bees, for which she has an inordinate fondness.

The first order of business was to build a wall so to create separation from the street and then level the yard. Work on the wall began in December 2012 but, with all the rain we had last winter (remember that!) it wasn’t finished until the end of January.

She spent that winter researching plants and designing the layout. They wanted border plants that would parallel the sidewalk to provide some privacy and flowering drought tolerant plants along the driveway, leaving the center of the yard for raised vegetable beds and a lounge area for relaxing and entertaining.

By the end of February, 2012, she completed an organic gardening course at SMC Community Education taught by Christy Wilhelmi and was ready to begin planting. 

For the front border they planted non-fruit bearing olive trees and native sage (Salvia apiana), with Acacia Redols along
the driveway. In the center they built four raised vegetable beds and used decomposed granite as the surrounding ground cover. They installed a basalt fountain that would be easy for the bees and birds to drink from.

They had drip irrigation installed in the upper yard but decided to choose very hardy plants that would need minimal hand watering in front of the wall and in the parking strip.

In front of the wall she chose Lantana and lavender both for their hardy, drought tolerance and because they are a favorite of both bees and butterflies.

In the parking strip she did some experimenting and had mixed success. Lavender, rosemary, butterfly bush, bees bliss sage, pincushion flowers and purple cone flower are a few of the plants she’s tried. She considers this experimental garden area and will continue to try new plants. she’ll will add some edibles this spring. Since there is no irrigation in this area she waters exclusively by hand. Over the past winter she’s only needed to water monthly.

Finally by May the vegetables were planted and much to her delight within six weeks they were flourishing beyond her wildest dreams.

The front yard is an enchanting haven for both the family and a diverse variety of wildlife. It provided them with a bounty of organic vegetables all summer and well into the fall. In 2013 she planted a winter garden. The family is enjoying the abundance Southern California affords a gardener! They are filled with gratitude.

Christy Wilhelmi, an edible garden expert and owner of Gardenerd, will be at the garden and copies of her new book, Gardening for Geeks, will be available. Printed tour maps will also be available.

2454 Louella Avenue - Cluster 5

This garden, on the border between Mar Vista and Venice, is a flourishing laboratory for making our community more resilient and beautiful. 

Click here for audio description of this garden.

Come join the homeowners and Transition Mar Vista/Venice for a day of exciting, informational and interactive talks, for great community conversation, togetherness and home-made treats.

Repurposed material greenhouse
Three projects demonstrate Transition Mar Vista/Venice in action:
  • They pulled up the parkway to establish an edible front yard garden with the participation of Good Karma Gardens and seedling master Matt Van Diepen.
  • In the backyard they created a beautiful greenhouse from repurposed old doors and windows. 
  • They installed a grey water system that goes from laundry to landscape, with the education provided by the Transition group's Grey Water workshop.
Come hang out in the garden, and meet members of Transition Mar Vista/Venice - part of the International Transition Movement - dedicated to moving our communities from fossil fuel dependence to local resilience. Transition's purpose is to build community security by encouraging sustainability in our food, water, transportation and health systems and through rebuilding our local economy.
Laundry to landscape

The homeowners are hosting a full day of 30 minute talks  and demonstrations. Click here to see the schedule.