A newly-constructed demonstration garden was unveiled last Saturday during a festive ribbon cutting ceremony.

Sitting in the center of a residential neighborhood, the area fronts South Pasadena’s community garden, which opened about two years ago. Located at 1028 Magnolia Street, the demonstration garden features a variety of amenities – a shade structure, a bench, water fountain, and bike racks.

Its main focus, however, are the many drought tolerant native plants and trees, intended to conserve the use of water.

“Coming here is a great way for residents to discover ways to reduce the grass footprint in front of their home,” explained Sheila Pautsch, the city’s community services director. “Along with drought tolerant plants, there’s a lot of mulch, a new drip irrigation system, and a solar controller, which is great because we use no electricity.”

South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti was among the many on hand for Saturday’s ribbon cutting, noting that the demonstration garden is the culmination for planning of the neighborhood community garden, where residents have the opportunity to plant fruits and vegetables in giant beds of soil.

“The second phase of the community garden, which opened about two years ago, was to provide an area in front of it where the community can see for themselves the kinds of things they can plant in their own yards, which are drought tolerant, friendly for the earth, and use very little water,” said Cacciotti. “This effort has long been in the planning. The landscape here is typical of what people can do with their own yards to reduce the impact on the environment.”

City officials say the project is another way to show its conservation efforts, and create an attractive plot of land in the heart of a residential neighborhood. For some, it’s a place to simply be outdoors, and relax with children, friends and family members.

Funds to build the demonstration garden came from the city’s conservation fund and park impact fee.

Many community members were in attendance during Saturday’s ribbon cutting as organizers provided irrigation options, ways to conserve water, and tips on the best drought-tolerant plants to buy.

“The demonstration garden and the community garden have really improved the neighborhood,” said Councilmember Dr. Richard Schneider. “Everybody I’ve talked to loves them. We’ve received really good feedback.”

As an environmentalist, David Beadle, chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, likes the idea of having both gardens in the city because “growing your own food is the ultimate in reducing the carbon emissions,” he explained. “Growing your own food is great for your health. It’s good to see things growing. You don’t have to ship it on big trucks into the supermarkets. The demonstration garden and community garden are real beneficial to our residents.”

For more information, call the Community Services Department at (626) 403-7380.


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