This is the season for great garden tours, and this Saturday you’ll be able to enjoy one of the newer such tours in mid-town LA – the second annual installment of of the West Adams Heritage Association’s West Adams Native Gardens Tour.
According to WAHA, the tour is designed to highlight and promote the pairing of native plants with historic houses, dating from about 1904 to the mid-1920s, and representing a variety of historic and architectural styles. The gardens were also designed to enhance their historic settings, and create landscapes in harmony with Southern California’s climate, soil, natural vegetation, and native wildlife. And they reduce water use, reduce (or eliminate) chemical and pesticide use, improve habitat and benefits for birds and bees, and highlight the unique aesthetic appeal of gardens designed with California native plants.
WAHA Communications Director Laura Myers told the Buzz this week that the tour was started last year to “show that a native plants landscape can enhance historical residences.” For many years, Myers said, “people who beautifully restored their period/character homes likely installed traditional gardens”…but many of those did not include native plants, and many did not survive our extreme drought years. So “the thinking has changed, especially with the drought,” said Myers. “These gardens we are showcasing really demonstrate that native plants and historic homes do make good “neighbors.””
Last year, the first year of the tour, Myers said about 150 people toured the gardens. This year, six of the 10 gardens on the tour are repeats from last year, while four are new. “So there’s something new to see, along with perhaps new plantings and certainly more furious blooms in the returning gardens,” said Myers. The new gardens include a Spanish duplex on Longwood Ave., an early American Foursquare in the “Avenues,” and two Harvard Heights Craftsman-style homes.
Myers said another new element in this year’s event is “fun” refreshments. More specifically, “one of the property owners is a member of WASH, the West Adams Society of Homebrewers. Meaning he makes homemade beer — and he will be serving up tastings of his beer in the afternoon. Another owner is serving wine (not homemade). And a third property owner has enlisted some of the kids in her neighborhood to do a lemonade stand — with lemons picked in the neighborhood. None of this has much to do with native plants…but (it) will make the tour more fun,” she said.
Also, Myers said WAHA has created a separate bicycle route map for this year’s tour, for those who would like to ride between houses, and it will route cyclists along some of historic West Adams’ prettiest streets. (All advance ticket purchasers will be sent a copy of the bike map.)
In addition, please note that this is a self-guided tour, whether navigating by bike or car.
- Saturday, April 13
- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tickets – $30 at the door, or in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/west-adams-native-gardens-tour-tickets-57757978669 (Please note that tickets are non-refundable; if you cannot attend, contact the organizers and your payment will be considered a donation to WAHA’s preservation and education efforts.)
- Check in will be at 1651 Virginia Rd. in Lafayette Square (90019)
- The last ticket will be sold at 1:30 p.m.; doors (or, rather, “gates”) close at 4 p.m.
Finally, as the gardens are scattered throughout the Historic West Adams District, from Jefferson Park to Arlington Heights, and West Adams Avenues to Oxford Square – with the check-in/starting point in Lafayette Square — be sure to give yourself plenty of time to travel between and enjoy the gardens.
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