Begun in 2010, the creation of the half-acre LANPS garden was inspired by the many mature Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) found on the property. Accordingly, a large portion of the garden is an example of “best practices” for gardening in the understory of these magnificent trees, which have a very specific set of cultural requirements.
For example, without exception, the plants in these areas of the garden are to be found growing in the dappled shade of Coast Live Oaks in the wild and require little to no summer irrigation. The “un-oaked” southwestern exposures of the garden borrow from the plant communities of other local habitats such as chaparral, coastal sage scrub and Southern Walnut Savannah.
Aside from a few non-local (but California native) plants selected “just because,” all of the plants in the LANPS garden are native to the particular area of Los Angeles in which the garden is located. The use of cultivars is limited and substantial space is reserved for a wide variety of annuals. A few “legacy” non-native plants, such as wisteria, pine and olive, have been “grandfathered” in, but at present, the garden is about 95% California native plants.
As the garden has developed and matured, it has attracted a growing number of resident insect, reptile and bird species. When asked if we grow food in the LANPS garden (a question more frequent than you might imagine) we reply: “Yes. Food for insects and birds.” While we certainly enjoy and appreciate the beauty of California’s native plants on display in the LANPS garden, it really exists for the benefit of the resident Yellow-faced Bumblebees, Western Fence Lizards and Lesser Goldfinches, among others.
A work in progress, the LANPS garden continues to grow as more and more of the property is replanted with Southern California native plants.