It’s been a year since we led a one-day Sponge Garden building day in Pasadena at the pocket park at Union & Catalina Aves. Kelley Hanna, G3 Certified Professional 2009 and The Plant Goddess of Pasadena joined Managing Member, Pamela Berstler, in a drive by of the garden to see which plants were happy, and which were not. We were pleasantly surprised to see people walking through the garden rather than along the sidewalk. The decomposed granite pathway works!
At first glance, part of the garden seemed to be awash in Aristida purpurea, a native bunch grass that G3 recommends as a substitute for the invasive Stipa tenuissima.
But lo and behold, upon closer inspection, it appears that Stipa had been substituted for the Aristida! The fiends! This is a most disconcerting development that we’ll take up with Pasadena Public Works and Water and Power, the partners that funded the design and construction of the garden in 2012.
Winners are: Arctostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn,’ Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Point Reyes,’ Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker,’ Eriogonum glaucus ‘Bountiful,’ Heuchera ‘Wendy,’ Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud,’ Eriogonum grande var rubescens, Salvia greggii and Carex praegracilis.
Losers are: Aristida purpurea, Melica imperfecta, and, surprisingly, the Achillea millefolium ‘Island Pink,’ ‘King Range,’ and ‘Sonoma Coast.’ Monkeyflowers were no where to be seen. Ribes, if ever planted, were gone. And, the Salvia spathacea looked about as poorly as it possibly could.
All that said, the garden itself is still a great public counterpoint to all of the turf in the neighborhood. A little Tender Loving Care is all that is required (along with about 3″ of new mulch and an irrigation system check-up) to bring things into line. A few 4″ – 1 gallon plant replacements, and the garden will look fantastic. And, MAYBE we can influence Pasadena Water and Power to remove and replace the Stipa.