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Go on, browse the natives

July 19, 2007|Nancy Yoshihara

INTERESTED in experimenting with California natives and other drought-tolerant plants, but not quite ready to uproot your own garden?

Visit the Arlington Garden in Pasadena. The demonstration garden devoted to Mediterranean and California natives offers a wonderful opportunity to get to know and learn about these increasingly popular plants.

"It's flourishing, not finished; it's still a work in progress," says Betty McKenney, who with her husband, Charles, came up with the idea for the garden, at the northwest corner of Pasadena Avenue and Arlington Drive, just east of Orange Grove Boulevard.

Garden designer Mayita Dinos laid out the garden on a gentle knoll in two segments: Mediterranean and California with outdoor "rooms." The goal, she says, is to show people "you can have a beautiful garden that doesn't use up a lot of resources."

The garden opened to the public two years ago with about 12 trees, and since then 300 trees and 3,000 plants have been planted. There's an olive allée, a young orange grove, a lavender garden, California poppies, lavender garden, oak trees, birdhouses, walkways and even an arroyo fashioned to catch the water during the winter.

"I'm nuts about the California section," Dinos says. "I see how they [native plants] grow. I see all the bees, butteries and birds they attract."

The garden is on the grounds of the former Durand home, a 50-room, 17,000-square-foot French chateau built in 1905 and razed in the 1960s. The Arlington Garden, maintained and supported a nonprofit group by the same name, is free, with street parking on Arlington Drive. For information, call (626) 441-4478.

-- Nancy Yoshihara

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