The water-wise demonstration garden has been planted and nurtured by local residents of Pasadena . Due to the extension of the city lease agreement, a grant from Metropolitan Water District and a huge effort spearheaded by Charles and Betty McKenney, the lot will remain open for the next 10 years.
Arlington Gardens is a Caltrans-owned property which laid vacant for more than 40 years until neighbors worked together to transform the lot. Now, the garden attracts many local high school students and volunteers who come there on a regular basis to manicure the grounds.
Pasadena Unified School District has set up a program for high achieving students to visit there during the summer and one student was quoted saying she could hear her thoughts there.
“I think this lease is mandatory. It’s become a place where people like to just come to,” said Charles McKenney. “They like to come because it’s a place of peace and quiet.”
The garden is planted with more than 2,000 California-friendly plants, shrubs and trees including an orange grove, stately palms, an olive allee, fragrant lavender, trellised roses, bougainvillea, and lemon trees.
“If you haven’t been to the garden, you really gotta go because it is amazing. It gets better and better exponentially,” said Steve Madison, the District 6 Councilman. “It’s a great example of public private partnership that works fabulously well.”
Recently, Arlington Gardens installed inviting tables, benches, chairs, and umbrellas using donated funds. And, there are more plans are in the works including plant identification signage, brochures, a solar powered fountain, as well as, an efficient irrigation system.
“This lease extension is really critical because people would like to know that this is going to be here for awhile,” said Charles McKenney. “We think that this lease extension is imperative.”
Pasadena is renowned for its botanical gems, and for the next 10 years, Arlington Gardens will continue to be a popular place to enjoy a bit of serenity in an ever-urbanized community.