It has been nearly two years since the South Pasadena Community Garden had its build-out day on April 25, 2015, when crowds of volunteers gathered to build over 30 raised beds at its location at 1028 Magnolia Street in a former Caltrans lot. Since that day, the community garden has grown and flourished.
A number of events are planned for April. The garden will be celebrating Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, with the second annual Plant Sale from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the garden. Everyone is invited to come by, see the garden, and purchase some plants to take home with them. They’ll be selling tomato plants of all sorts as well as a variety of squash, cucumbers, and chard, all for $4 each or three plants for $10. The garden will be selling hundreds of plants that have been lovingly raised from seed by Steve Friedman, Karen Veitch, and Lorrie Dieckmann, three of the garden’s most experienced green thumbs. On April 23, the garden will be hosting the Los Angeles Community Garden Council’s annual fundraiser, with an Open House at the garden as well as a party at a private home nearby. This party will help support low-income families who want to grow their own food; ticket information is available through the Los Angeles Community Garden Council’s website. Finally, the community garden will be the last stop on the South Pasadena Beautiful Garden Tour this year on April 30; the garden will be open for visitors on that day from 1:30-4:30.
Visitors to the garden in April will see that the city has recently broken ground on a long-awaited demonstration garden in the front of the community garden. This garden will demonstrate drought-tolerant landscaping and will be a kind of pocket park for the city. With an anticipated finish date of May 19, the demonstration garden will be a welcome addition to our city’s landscape. Watch for a grand opening celebration early this summer.
Volunteers, both members of the garden and members of the community at large, have made the South Pasadena Community Garden thrive. In recent months, two new compost bins have been constructed by two local Boy Scouts who used these projects as part of their work toward becoming Eagle Scouts. These projects were impressive in their scope, as both Owen Pratt and Kian Jeshion-Nelson had to go through a laborious design, approval, and documentation process as well as raising funds for the materials. With the support of their troops, Owen and Kian helped to make the community garden an even greener place. Additionally, a group of Occidental College students completed their service day in honor of Martin Luther King by spending a day in January at the garden weeding and spreading mulch.
While some donations to the garden have come in labor, others have generously donated funds in support of the garden’s activities, which include not only the raising of vegetables but participation in community events like the Arts Crawl, the Eclectic Music Festival, the 4th of July parade, and the civic walking tour for Marengo Elementary School. South Pasadena Beautiful recently donated $150 in support of the garden, and the South Pasadena Rotary Club funded a $650 grant that will allow for the construction of a storage area for equipment at the garden.
In addition, the U.S. Bank has recently made a $15,000 donation that will be used, in part, to make the garden’s ADA beds more accessible to anyone with mobility difficulties. A celebration of this donation is being planned for early summer. Visitors are invited to check out the mural honoring donors that was painted by local artist and garden member Anita Scott on a wall in the garden; it is a beautiful touchstone in this place that is growing and thriving in South Pasadena.
Applications for garden plots are available on the South Pasadena city website; there is currently a short waiting list, but South Pasadena residents who are interested in gardening and can commit to two hours a month for communal work days as well as caring for their own plots, are encouraged to apply to be a part of this community endeavor.