Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

The History of the Ebell of Los Angeles Garden

The courtyard garden at the Ebell of Los Angeles circa 1930.
The courtyard garden at the Ebell of Los Angeles circa 1930

Behind the Ebell of Los Angeles Mediterranean Revival Style building, fronting on busy Wilshire Blvd., is a wonderful courtyard garden designed by Florence Yoch and Lucile Council, young garden designers practicing in Los Angeles in the 1920s when the ladies of the Ebell commissioned them to create a landscape plan for their new club house.

Local landscape designer Libby Simon has shared with the Buzz her wonderfully researched narrative about the garden, now published in “Eden,” the quarterly journal of the California Garden & Landscape History Society (CGLHS), an organization dedicated to promoting wider knowledge, preservation, and restoration of California’s historic gardens and landscapes.

“The new Ebell became a cornerstone of gentility and culture for the neighborhoods of Windsor Square, Hancock Park, and Fremont Place,” wrote Simon.  “The club membership insisted that a female landscape architect be hired, and Florence Yoch and Lucile Council were chosen to design the interior courtyard garden and the exterior landscaping.”

In her research through the Ebell archives,  Simon found the original architectural plans for the building, plus receipts for every plant, pottery piece, and all the items purchased from nurseries and shops for the garden by Yoch and Council (thanks to the dedication of the current Ebell members to preserving the club’s history). The Ebell still serves as a women’s club and welcomes new members interested in its mission of philanthropy, service to the community and life-long learning.

Simon, formerly an animation artist and currently a CGLHS board member, is a graduate of UCLA Extension’s Landscape Architecture program. Now designing residential gardens, she has also been involved in historic preservation, having completed Historic American Landscape Surveys of the San Gabriel Mission, the Los Angeles Ebell garden, and the Old Zoo at Griffith Park.

Membership in the California Garden & Landscape History Society is open to landscape architects, scholars, garden directors, designers, historians, preservationists, writers, librarians, educators, government professionals, and – of course – passionate gardeners and plant lovers.  For more information on CGLHS membership, see

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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