7th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase

The 7th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase will be Saturday, April 25, 2015. 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

Click here to see a map of the areas we'll feature in the 2015 Showcase. We're looking for potential garden clusters now. Eligible gardens should have one or more of the following sustainability features: California native/drought tolerant plantings, edibles or water catchment systems. This is a curated show. The deadline for garden submittal is February 1, 2015.

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. 

Did you miss the 2014 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 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 2nd Sunday, a Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase committee member is also there. Every 4th Sunday, UCCE Master Gardeners visit The Green Tent with seeds, seedlings and advice. 

3783 Redwood Ave - Cluster 5

Click here for audio description of this garden.

This garden is a must visit to learn about Ocean Friendly Gardens!

This front garden is largely California native or drought resistant plants with two small square-foot vegetable gardens, flanked by a handful of potted strawberries and herbs. The native plants have brought an amazing difference in wild life! The yard attracts a wide array of birds and pollinators.

The homeowners hired help to remove the grass and lay the stepping stones that run along the driveway, and then did all the plant selection, garden layout, and planting on their own. The main path is recycled driveway from a neighbor. They completed the process with NWF to make the garden certified Wildlife Habitat, and installed a rain barrel in the front yard. 

Next steps include an additional rain barrel in the back yard and cutting into the driveway to stop flow to the street to retain as much water on the property as possible. The plants are hand watered as needed. The edibles get more frequent watering and the rest of the yard maybe once or twice a month. There is also a compost bin in the back yard.

This homeowner works full time for the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit that works on issues such as ocean water quality. Surfrider Foundation launched a program in Los Angeles County called Ocean Friendly Gardens in 2009. The purpose of the program is to give your yard “CPR” (Conservation, Permeability, and Retention) to reduce our individual contribution to urban runoff, the #1 cause of ocean pollution in Los Angeles. Find out more from Surfrider representatives at the garden. 

3545 Redwood Avenue - Cluster 5

This almost three year old, now predominately California natives, garden was once just a wide stretch of grassy yard with no trees and some shrubs. 

Click here for audio description of this garden.

The homeowners were inspired to transform this yard after learning about and receiving a stipend from the LADWP lawn conversion program in 2011. Once the lawn was gone, the garden could begin to reflect the goals they had begun to develop for a native garden: habitat friendly, drought tolerant, seasonal colors, and scent everywhere! Also, they wanted to create an outdoor “living space” where one could sit, relax, enjoy the sounds of a gentle fountain, or the flutter and buzz of birds, butterflies and bees; to experience privacy without a fence or walls, under a canopy of leaves. 

The process began with lots of trial and error! They spent many weekends traveling to and exploring options at native plant nurseries across Southern California, attending workshops and classes, reading and researching. Figuring out what plants work best in which area of the garden continues to be a challenging and rewarding experience, and there is still much design work ahead for this young garden. In 2013 they added edibles (and the challenges of balancing the plants' water needs) as well as a newly planted parkway.

Some of their favorite garden features are the winding rock path, the fountain and the front wooden deck – shaded by a very large and old Caribbean Copper Tree – that serves as a respite from the sun and a perch from which to observe the variety of milkweed, Ceanothus, the stately dogwood, several redbuds, hummingbird sages, currants, buckwheat and the newest addition, an elderberry tree seedling. 

As the garden develops, changes, and matures they look forward to the possibilities a native garden provides.

2554 Federal Avenue - Cluster 1

Click here for audio description of this garden.

This unique garden is primarily edible. It is truly a reflection of today’s economy, demonstrating that with the onset of inflation and "tough times" we can be more reliant on our very own Victory Gardens. The owner enjoys eating fresh and unique produce plucked from the garden.

This is a do-it-yourself project. Edibles grow within and around raised beds. Repurposed metal buckets set in the ground serve as containers for herbs. A larger metal bucket filled with gravel directs water from the rain chain into the ground.

Since it is in the front yard, the garden is a resource for sharing. Often when a neighbor walks by or shows interest in the garden, the owner plucks a sprig of rosemary or shares a vegetable. With sharing becoming more scarce, the owner feels this garden is a vehicle for people to re-connect and share.

Printed tour maps will be available at this garden.

3241 Granville Avenue - Cluster 3

Click here for audio description of this garden.

This large corner garden includes not only the front yard on Granville, but the side yard and parkway around the corner on Rose. Happily wild, it features a variety of drought-tolerant native and non-native plants. Abundant Westringia fruticosa (coast rosemary) planted throughout the garden and sprinklings of self-seeding Euphorbia characias give it cohesion.

Don't miss the mature manzanita and ceanothus in the parkway on Stoner. Tucked into the shade of the side yard are white and yellow abutilon. You'll also see agaves, grasses including red fountain grass (this is the non-invasive one), lupine, pink-flowered Indian hawthorne, and rockrose.

Stepping stones on permeable crushed granite and a rocking bench on the shady porch make this garden especially inviting.

12934 McCune Avenue - Cluster 5

Look at this harvest!

Click here for audio description of this garden.

This garden is an ever evolving backyard refuge of vegetables and flowers. To the owners, it feels like their own patch of wilderness complete with birds, bees and butterflies. 

Their plants and gardens are all organic and geared almost entirely to food production. They use soil that was already there and add in compost from their worms and compost bins.  

They strive for efficiency with drip irrigation, keep things sustainable by composting and repurposing materials into garden structures and eat healthy all year round.

3348 Keeshen Drive - Cluster 3

Click here for audio description of this garden.

The vision was create a low maintenance, low water garden. These homeowners also wanted to use native plants and succulents. They turned to Larry Hess of Bloom Landscaping for garden/landscape design.

The low maintenance grass alternative used in some areas requires very little water. A slate walk path to the front porch, plus a slate porch off the South side of the house that drops down to another slate area are perfect spots for enjoying the garden. 

The garden is full of bees and butterflies. They also get many hummingbirds throughout the year. By April the garden will full be in full bloom for the showcase. 

Printed tour maps will be available at this garden.

3951 Keeshen Drive - Cluster 5

Click here for audio description of this garden.

Eight years ago, Gary’s Greenery transformed the typical grass lawn in the front  of this home into a fragrant, flowering wonderland, filled with low-water natives, including pineapple sage and lavender, and punctuated by whimsical succulents under the existing plum and apple trees.

Visitors who walk through the jasmine-covered archway of the custom garden gate and up the curving flagstone walkway never fail to comment on the sweet perfume they encounter

This cozy space, framed by stone pillars and wood rails, will spark your imagination of how inviting a small front garden can be, not only to human guests but also to the hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

12251 Herbert Street - Cluster 6

Click here for audio description of this garden.

When the owners purchased this home, it had a typical 1950s aesthetic: a grass front lawn between the street and the front windows with a small hedge in front of the house. 

They wanted to remove the lawn, provide privacy from the street, and create an interior focal point from the home looking out. 

After removing the lawn they installed a row of plant and wooden structures along the sidewalk and an interior decomposed granite pathway with a large tree and stone as focal points.

All of the plants are low water/drought tolerant and come from arid environments worldwide.

11607 Clover Avenue - Cluster 2

Click here for audio description of this garden.

The original house was built in 1947 on what was farm land. The original lemon and lime trees on the property still produce an abundance of fruit. In 1996 the garden was re-landscaped and in 2003 the house was remodeled and Marilee Kuhlman redesigned parts of the garden. The owner has taken out part of the front garden landscaping to grow organic vegetables. The parkway in front of the house is completely water conscious and the property is designated as a Natural Wildlife Habitat.

What sets this garden apart is the use of structured water for irrigation. The garden is watered only twice a week for a short time. This new paradigm in water filtration/conditioning has increased the biomass production, reduced disease and the need for water and fertilizer on the entire property.

12032 MItchell Avenue - Cluster 6

Click here for audio description of this garden.

This garden features raised planting beds. The patio provides a perfect place to sit and enjoy the garden and watch birds visiting the bird bath.

2555 Federal Avenue - Cluster 1

Click here for audio description of this garden.

When these homeowners moved in, the garden consisted of a dying lawn and a few plants The ground under the lawn was calcified due to lack of watering. wasn't - and still isn't - a sprinkler system. 

The homeowners decided the best way to manage the front yard was to eliminate most of the lawn and create planter boxes filled mostly with succulents from cuttings, flowers and herbs. They wanted a garden that looked unusual, attracted benificial insects, was fragrant and low maintenance. They had no desire to water or spend much money.

They created the planters with tree limbs. The flower seeds are organic, no hybrids. They gather seeds for all vegetables, herbs and flowers at the end of the growing season for the next year, spending only about $10 a year on new seeds. 

They've never used any pesticides. Benificial insects keep the bugs away and biodegradable dish soap in a spray bottle keeps out unwelcome pests. They water perhaps once a week in the summer, never in the winter. 

They have a compost pile and turn the soil with it as needed.