This Sunday was the 2nd Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase. The tour is hosted by the Green Committee of the Mar Vista Community Council, and features over 80 different homes. As the website describes:
This free, self guided garden tour is all about water conservation. These homeowners have all made choices to eliminate or reduce turf lawns and have created gardens that thrive in our Southern California climate while using minimal water. Many are investing the water they use to grow fruits and vegetables for their families to enjoy.
Fortunately, I live just down the road from part of the tour, so was able to hop on my bike, and enjoy the afternoon seeing about 10 houses that ranged from highly designed, horticultural gardens to self-described rock gardens. Each garden provided a different look at water conservation, but all featured permeable surfaces, and low-water use plants. Some of the yards had been converted to edible gardens, growing artichokes, lettuces, snap peas, chards, strawberries, and tomatoes among others. I was also able to stop by the Venice High School Learning Garden, one of the more extensive school gardening programs in Los Angeles. It was a great facility that features a range of demonstration gardens and plots tended by students at the high school.
Although I really enjoyed the aesthetics of some of the professionally or highly-designed gardens, there was something sort of wonderful about the home grown "rock people" and like-minded, willing amateurs who took a lot of pride in pulling out their lawn and putting in a few plants. While the yards were certainly not showpieces, the owners took as much if not more pride in it as people might talk about their lawns. But it wasn't simply about aesthetics, they felt a real sense of empowerment and pride about doing their part - displaying a sort of DIY ethos for sustainability.
Overall, it was a great event that not only provided inspiration for people to rethink their yards, but also a forum for community members to interact with each other. Look forward to attending next year.
Raised bed made out of straw waddles (erosion control devices)
Traditional raised bed
The Desert Garden at the Venice Learning Garden