LETTERS FROM THE GARDEN
Michelle Matthew, Executive Director of Arlington Garden, reflects on Earth Day, and what we can learn from Arlington Garden during the pandemic.
This year marks the 15th Anniversary of Arlington Garden and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. But this Earth Day, April 22nd, we were closed. Our events have been canceled, and our efforts to celebrate have been postponed.
I know that there are many other anniversaries and celebrations being recognized in isolation, including congregations of ritual and gatherings to grieve and mourn. If anything, this pandemic is forcing us to acknowledge the importance of community and open space. Many of you may be walking more, driving less, meeting your neighbors, reaching out to your friends and family, and figuring out ways you can still connect. read more…
Arlington Garden was designed as a series of interconnected garden “rooms” showcasing mediterranean-climate plants and sustainable gardening techniques.
Its layout is intentionally labyrinthine. Secret chambers of flowers flicker into view between agaves, appearing unexpectedly behind switchbacks in garden trails. This layout makes it possible, says the garden’s designer Mayita Dinos, to wander and “imagine you are not even in a garden but rather … in a field or a nook in a forest.”
In part one of a two-part interview for Arlington Garden’s 15th Anniversary, Mayita Dinos, the designer of Arlington Garden, discusses the design process, construction, and the early days of the garden.
AG: The site that became Arlington Garden was purchased by Caltrans as a staging ground for the 710 freeway, but it sat empty for decades after community opposition halted construction. What did the lot look like when you started designing?
MD: It was a veritable weed lot that the City would mow down several times a year. There were a few mature trees that remained from the original Durand mansion: several palms, a jacaranda, a pepper tree, and a couple of oaks. In short, it was a wonderful blank canvas for me to play with.
Arlington Garden broke ground 15 years ago on an empty lot with a smattering of beautiful old trees and little else besides trash. The first addition to the site was mulch to improve the soil. And, appropriately, the rest of the garden grew up from that.
But how did those beautiful old trees end up in this otherwise empty lot? read more…
Arlington Garden is pleased to announce that we are celebrating our 15th anniversary throughout the 2020 calendar year!
In light of the pandemic, the garden is working with Board Vice President Kim Jacobsen (our Anniversary Planning Chair) to create a slate of innovative new remote programming for our anniversary. We are developing a variety of entertaining events, including educational activities for children and regenerative gardening tutorials for adults. People wishing to learn more about our evolving anniversary programming are invited to subscribe to our newsletter or bookmark this website.
The images directly above show the site of the garden before planting began in 2005 and as it is today. They make vivid the amazing transformation that occurred in the garden in a mere 15 years! read more…