March 4, 2001
I enjoyed the tour of the handsome garden in Ojai ("Birds in Paradise," Gardens, by Susan Heeger, Feb. 4). It's refreshing to see such a collection of drought-tolerant plants looking lush and friendly. I admire the way Dennis Hall and Albert Marrero have softened the severe, spiky look that I've associated in the past with succulent and cacti gardens. I only wish someone hadn't smeared butter all over the camera lens before the shoot! Loren Tripp Altadena
October 2, 2005
I found Susan Heeger's article on Mark Rios and his design firm enlightening ("Mark Rios on a Roll," Style, Sept. 11). As an artist and closet historian of local design, I'm always interested in seeing what's going on from an architectural perspective. The image of the proposed retail space with topiary letters caught my eye. The idyllic setting has one odd anomaly: Who's the naked guy in the left-hand corner? Nowhere but in L.A., as no one in the image seems the slightest bit interested.
March 12, 2000
"Privacy Factor" (by Susan Heeger, SoCal Style, Feb. 6) featured a Mar Vista residential garden of ornamental grasses. The article characterized the garden as "environmentally friendly." Readers should be made aware that some of the species featured, such as pampas grass and fountain grass, are non-native species that are aggressively invasive into our natural California habitats, where they displace native plants and the native wildlife that depend on them for food and shelter. While the Mar Vista garden may be in an urban area and pose little threat to natural lands, residents fortunate to live in proximity to park lands should consider using native plants.
December 11, 1994
There is always something in the Los Angeles Times Magazine that interests me, but the Nov. 6 issue was a particular joy, beginning with "Duet With a Diva," by James McCourt. No singer has given me as much pleasure as Victoria de los Angeles in the many recitals I attended here and in New York during the '60s and '70s. Then the article about Jim Wallis was fascinating. To read about a man who practices justice and tolerance was especially wonderful after the recent dismal political campaigns.
August 8, 2004
This is my third visit to the U.S. since 2001, and I could not resist reading the July 18 issue. In fact, I am packing it home with me to Manila. The caste system expressed in the casta paintings is familiar to me as a Filipino ("An Unsettling Racial Score Card," by Gregory Rodriguez). Back home, the mestizos seem to enjoy a certain level of social acceptability because of their fair skin. Also, the "final resolution" of the man suffering from cancer touched my heart and made me more aware.
December 2, 2001
Please show some social responsibility and discontinue features with tropical gardens ("Island Fever," Gardens, by Susan Heeger, Nov. 11). Can you imagine if all Southern Californians adopted such a wasteful approach to gardening? I live out in the desert, where many people are trying to create mini-New England gardens with disregard to our rapidly diminishing water resources. I recently moved into a small co-op, and we are ripping out the boxwood hedges and replacing them with cactus.