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

Highlights from the GWNC’s Third Water-Wise Garden Tour

A passing butterfly (can you find it?) visits one of the beautiful gardens on this year’s GWNC Water-Wise Garden Tour.

On Saturday, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council sponsored its third Water-Wise Garden Tour, this year focusing on five gardens in the Windsor Square and Windsor Village neighborhoods.  Tour organizer Julie Stromberg generously provided the lovely photos, below, from the featured properties…which are combined with descriptions adapted from the tour brochure.

511 S. Lucerne Boulevard – Designer: FormLA

Described as “an environmental jewel” in the GWNC’s tour brochure, this 1922 residence is “the first HPOZ-located home in Los Angeles to receive LEED Platinum certification, the highest level granted by the U.S. Green Build Council.”  The property is irrigated for only nine minutes per week, and gray water (“laundry to lawn”) is used to water the fruit trees. Also, recycled material from the the home’s remodeling was used for the front pathway, and other areas are surfaced with permeable materials such as gravel, decomposed granite and permeable clay brick.  The front yard contains a rain garden to hold and soak runoff from the roof, driveway, lawn and gardens.


322 S. Plymouth Boulevard – Designer: Nick Dean

According to the tour brochure, the owners of this home “were motivated by their desire to conserve water and have a color-filled and inviting garden populated with drought-tolerant plants that attract birds, bees and butterflies.”  They began by removing the water-thirsty lawn and replacing it with “a splash of succulents and stepping stones looking up to a terraced garden containing California natives and Mediterranean plants,” which have an “exotic aroma and vibrant mix of color and texture.”  Underground drip irrigation is used in all areas, and a 100-year-old tea tree sits at the center of its own garden, which includdes a peaceful niche with a table and seats made from old tree trunks. Finally, there’s also “a stream-like bed of blue festuca flowing beneath a charming bridge that spans the trunk and is made of limbs from a tea tree that had to be removed”…as well as a pocket patio and a “graceful, plant-dotted main entrance, on the home’s north side.”


201 S. Plymouth Boulevard – Designer: Patricia Benner

According to the tour brochure, this garden is just a bit more than a year old. The owners removed the old lawn and replaced it with a “tapestry of shrubs that includes Westringia, Eleagnus, Cistus, Baccharis and Rosemary. Tucked in with the shrubs are small, flowering perennials that peep out to show off their seasonal blooms. The soft edge of garden at the sidewalk is flush with plants in shades of gray and green and create a tranquil experience for strolling pedestrians. ”  Near the home’s entrance, there’s also a “garden oasis replete with a cozy bench, a bubbling fountain and brimming with plants that flower in shades of purple and yellow,” as well as permeable ground cover planted with verbena, yarrow, succulents and native grasses…and a more formal boxwood hedge that frames the walkway and serves a gateway to the garden.


150 S. Plymouth Boulevard – Designer: Homeowner

The owner of this self-designed garden began its transformation 12 years ago with the planting of two Swan Hill fruitless olive trees. Today, the property is, as the tour brochure describes, “a cornucopia of native and lowwater plants and shrubs that yield their unique colors, textures and bouquet.”  Trees and plants include Pittosporum, dymondia, little ollie, lychnis, New Zealand flax, leonotis, Ilex, African box, lamb’s ears, brugmansia, dwarf plumbago, artichoke, heliotrope purple, Pride of Madeira and a slew of succulents,”  many in shades of purple with orange accents.  It’s all watered by a mix of drip and spray irrigation, and there are even a few “volunteers,” such as a fig tree and cuttings from friends and the owners’ previous residences.


100 N. Plymouth Boulevard – Designer: Nick Dean

And finally, this corner property has a “massive garden….anchored by giant birds of paradise that are original to the property,” as well as orignal mature trees, and shrubs to which drought-tolerant plants have been added for “dazzling effect.” It also includes color contrasts such as deep purple tones against the greens. According to the tour brochure, “under plantings include lavender, westringia, and yarrow. Loropetalum razzelberry (also called Chinese Fringe Flower), a favorite early springblooming shrub with exultant fuschia flowers” is also included, along with variegated coprosma (“marble queen”), and garlands of rosemary along the front wall, “offering its refreshing scent to passers-by.” Accent boulders are also used throughout.

[Note:  this story was updated after publication to correct the brochure link to a more recent version, and to add the photo of 150 S. Plymouth Blvd.]

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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