News provided by South Pasadena Beautiful
South Pasadena Beautiful celebrates this year’s superbloom of springtime flowers by featuring six residential properties for its 2023 Golden Arrow Award. We encourage you to take a look at these front gardens while the blooms are still at their peak and enjoy the showcase of spring color all over South Pasadena!
Christian and Amanda Mazza knew when they moved to 1715 Diamond Avenue that they wanted to remove the grass lawn and create a drought-tolerant landscape. They worked with Canterbury Landscaping to create a vibrant garden to welcome butterflies, bees, and birds. The old grass irrigation system was replaced with a new, water-wise irrigation system best suited for the new drought-tolerant plantings which include Salvia ‘marine blue’, Phlomis fruticosa, Dietes iridioides ‘Variegata’, Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’ and Achillea ‘moonshine’. Additionally, as the home originally only had access to the front patio and front door from steps on the side, via the driveway, new steps leading to the front garden were added, along with a meandering flagstone pathway that compliments the surrounding landscape design. A few copper LED lights were added along the path and others for additional landscape lighting.
The 1913 Craftsman bungalow at 1228 Stratford has been planted and maintained by owner Erin P. Moore. Near the front porch are Matilija Poppies, Black Sage, yellow Channel Islands Tree Poppy, and Pride of Madera. Shade trees include White Crepe Myrtle, Eastern Redbud, California Sycamore, and on the parkway Live Oak and Valley Oak. The sunny spots in the left corner include California Bush Sunflower (Brittlebush), Yellow Yarrow, Purple Sage, California Fuchsia, and Mallow. The shady areas include native Iris and Coral Bells. In front of the Sycamore are a St. Katherine’s Lace, White Sage (larger), Catalina Perfume, a small Hearst’s Ceanothus, new Toyon and Showy Island Firecracker snapdragon. The parkway features Manzanita, Jerusalem Sage, and a Pittosporum. The nasturtiums have gone wild and add a taste of color for the spring. African Daisies, Spanish and French Lavender, and Mexican Sage are easy drought tolerant fillers when the spring bloom ends. The owner waters less than once a week in the summer and not at all from November to June (except for the new purchases) and the garden is a certified wildlife habitat.
Michelle Del Rosario and Steven Fu set out to re-landscape their dated front yard at 1317 Marengo Avenue in hopes that the many families walking by on their way to and from school each day could enjoy it. When designing their garden, the homeowners wanted to make sure that it was more drought tolerant, had an organic feel, and displayed a beautiful array of colors through mostly foliage since Steven is allergic to pollen. To help their garden goals come to fruition, they collaborated with Sergio Gomez, owner of All About Garden, to design and implement a water-wise garden that included plants such as Cleveland Sage, Ascot Rainbow Euphorbia, Blue Glow Agave, Purple Heart and Tricolor Tradescantia, and Lampranthus Deltoides. They were then thoughtfully arranged to diversify the colors, heights, and varieties of plants around a dry creek bed which cuts across the face of the garden and intersects the flagstone pathway leading to the house’s entrance. Other plantings on the property include Loropetalum, Westringia Fruticosa, Foxtail Fern, a Cercis Tree and a Dwarf Olive Tree. Three years later, Michelle continues to add and replace plants in her never-ending quest for her dream garden!
A thriving native pollinator ecosystem replaced a 30-year-old lawn at 809 Grand Avenue. Rion Nakaya, who grew up in South Pasadena, and her Brooklyn-born husband, Michael Cosentino, took on the DIY gardening project after renovating the family home in 2019. A work in progress, the yard now boasts a vibrant spring showcase of purples, yellows, and oranges featuring Cleveland sage, verbena de la mina, Palmer’s abutilon, museum palo verde trees, and California poppies. White sage and dark star ceanothus adorn planters near the house, while recent additions—St. Catherine’s Lace, red buckwheat, sunset manzanita, Dara’s choice, hummingbird sage, Catalina Island snapdragon, fuchsia, and yarrow—aim to extend the yard’s blooms into summer, autumn, and winter. Three years on, the waterwise yard attracts diverse pollinators, including hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and the occasional white-lined sphinx moth. Nakaya also enjoys connecting with passing neighbors while she tends to the garden.
Elizabeth and David Mauceli transformed their conventionally landscaped front yard of their 1927 storybook house at 515 Grand Avenue into a watershed garden with the help of Julie Deamer. Inspired by the nearby Arroyo Seco, they created a riparian landscape that attracts and supports native birds and insects with drought-tolerant plants such as desert olive (Forestiera pubescens), rock rose (Cistus spp.), and ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.). Several native bird species now nest on the property, adding to the biodiversity and beauty of the garden. The garden is also full of wildflowers this spring, such as California poppies, arroyo lupine, and tidy tips, among others, creating a colorful and fragrant display. A majestic velvet ash tree (Fraxinus velutina) shades the garden, while a custom-made arbor and gate by local artisan Andrew Karl at Kindred Furniture adds a touch of whimsy. The arbor’s arch mirrors the peaks of their house, creating a harmonious and inviting entrance.
A native plant habitat garden surrounds Barbara and Jim Eisenstein’s 113 year-old Craftsman home at 1852 Monterey Road. Over the past twenty-five years, Barbara has gradually transformed their lawn-dominated, traditional yard into a wild suburbia. Each year as new native plants replaced bits of lawn, more birds, insects, lizards and other critters appeared. Now the yard is alive with juncos, towhees, cedar waxwings, and so much more. The birds feast on insects sheltering among the natural mulch that forms from fallen leaves. The change has been dramatic and rewarding. On most days, Barbara can be seen tending the garden. Neighbors stop to chat, often exclaiming that it looks like a lot of work, but to her it is all play. Barbara writes about native plant horticulture for her blog, WeedingWildSuburbia.com. She is author of the book, Wild Suburbia – Learning to Garden with Native Plants.
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