Page 1

I N E LINI V I NSAN G GABRIEL I N T HVALLEY E G R E A T E R FINEF LIVING THE

P A S A D E N A

A R E A

MAY 2009

GARDENS OF

EARTHLY DELIGHTS GO NATIVE

With droughttolerant plants

GO GREEN

Start your own urban homestead

GO TO THE ARBORETUM

But watch out for the catawampus


ARROYO VOLUME 5 ~ NUMBER 6

M O N T H LY

38 EARTHLY DELIGHTS 8 THE URBAN HOMESTEAD City slickers revive the family farm. –By Ilsa Setziol

12 WIND IN THE WILLOWS Patrick Dougherty’s “Catawampus,” an undulating sculpture of twisted twigs and childhood dreams, takes root at the L.A. County Arboretum. –By B.J. Lorenzo

17 GARDEN GETAWAY Arlington Garden provides a quiet sanctuary amid Pasadena’s hustle and bustle. –By Carl Kozlowski

38 GOING NATIVE Mix local flora with plants from other Mediterranean climates for a fragrant garden that blooms all year long. –By Ilsa Setziol

ART 42 AMERICAN ART ON THE UPSWING With newly expanded galleries, American art achieves destination status at the Huntington. –By Katie Klapper

DEPARTMENTS 7 FESTIVITIES The Pasadena Convention Center, Elizabeth House and more

PHOTO: Sean MacGillivray

45 OBJECTS OF DESIRE A nosegay of ideas for the well-tended garden 47 THE LIST The La Cañada Flintridge 7/8 Spring Home Tour, Museums of the Arroyo Day, author Suzy Welch and more

50 KITCHEN CONFESSIONS Serve up cheesy nostalgia at your next dinner party. ABOUT THE COVER: Photo of agave by Nancy Ross

ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 5


EDITOR’S NOTE

YOU CAN ADD VEGETABLE GARDENS TO YOUR LIST OF everything old that’s new again — ergo, our gardening issue. The seeds of First Lady Michelle Obama’s nifty new White House patch may have been planted by environmental lobbying, but there’s no question that growing one’s own produce is a thrifty way to go in this rotten economy. Still, gardening is a pleasure that spans income brackets. As Obama told a reporter, one of her goals in planting the 1,100-square-foot plot is to cultivate the appreciation of epicurean pleasures in her daughters. “A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the most delicious things you’ll ever eat,” she said. For Arroyo Monthly contributor Ilsa Setziol, the lure of gardening is even more basic. “I simply feel better — calmer but also more invigorated — in the midst of greenery,” she says. “That’s especially true of native plants, perhaps because many are so aromatic.” In this issue, Setziol, a former environmental reporter for Pasadena’s public radio station, KPCC, who blogs about all things green at ramblingla.com, offers a rundown on drought-tolerant gardens with native plants and imported flora from other regions with a Mediterranean climate like ours. She also reports on the urban homesteading trend among people who grow their own food on the path toward self-sufficiency. Of course, not everyone has access to his or her own garden. For them, the community garden movement is blossoming, and there’s no better example than Pasadena’s lovely Arlington Garden, transformed from a weed-covered lot by Betty and Charles McKenney, as you’ll read in Carl Kozlowski’s story. Finally, B.J. Lorenzo explores the garden as artwork in her piece on sculptor Patrick Dougherty’s evocative “Catawampus” installation at the L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia. Feel inspired to do a little digging of your own? Check out M. John Seeley’s shopping list for plants and accoutrements for the well-tended garden. — Irene Lacher

ARROYO MONTHLY Altadena, Arcadia, Eagle Rock, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, Sierra Madre, Pasadena, San Marino and South Pasadena

EDITOR IN CHIEF Irene Lacher PRODUCTION MANAGER Yvonne Guerrero ART DIRECTOR Joel Vendette • JUNIOR DESIGNER Evelyn Duenas WEB DESIGNER Carla Marroquin COPY EDITOR John Seeley STAFF WRITER Carl Kozlowski CONTRIBUTORS Karen Apostolina, Jenine Baines, Leslie Bilderback, Michael Burr, Michael Cervin, André Coleman, Caroline Cushing, Mandalit del Barco, Patt Diroll, Gary Dretzka, Lynne Heffley, Katie Klapper, Bettijane Levine, Jana Monji, Arlene Schindler, Ilsa Setziol, Kirk Silsbee, John Sollenberger PHOTOGRAPHERS Johnny Buzzerio, C.M. Hardt, Melissa Valladares ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Dina Stegon ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Fred Bankston, Dana Bonner, Elizabeth Guzman, Leslie Lamm, Rochelle Reiff, Alison Standish ADVERTISING DESIGNER Carla Marroquin VP OF FINANCE Michael Nagami • HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Andrea Baker BUSINESS MANAGER Angela Wang ACCOUNTING Alysia Chavez, Archie Iskaq OFFICE ASSISTANT Emma Rodriguez Luna PUBLISHER Jon Guynn

CONTACT US ADVERTISING dinas@pasadenaweekly.com • EDITORIAL editor@arroyomonthly.com PHONE (626) 584-1500 • FAX (626) 795-0149 MAILING ADDRESS 50 S. De Lacey Ave., Ste. 200, Pasadena, CA 91105 www.ArroyoMonthly.com ©2009 Southland Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

6 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO


FESTIVITIES

1

About 200 supporters of Elizabeth House raised $75,000 for the San Gabriel Valley’s only shelter for homeless pregnant women and their children at a March 21 benefit at 1

Pasadena’s University Club. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, served as keynote speaker. Organizers called the event “Where

1. Gala committee members Maritza Smith, Rosalie Halverson and Mary Sue Scheidler 2. Kate Rhymer, Shan Halverson, Ingrid Price, Paula Miller, Diane Zimanski, Smith, Scheidler, Halverson, Debbie Unruh, Becky McKelvey, Vickie Pyland, Janis Zimmerman and Catherine Budincich

Love Embraces Life” because “that’s what we do at Elizabeth House,” said Debbie Unruh, the shelter’s executive director. “We reach out in love to help the women who come to us…as they take steps to transform their lives.” Amber Gerhardt, Rosalie Halverson and Mary Sue Scheidler co-chaired the fundraiser. 2

1. (From left) Mayor Bill Bogaard; Richard J. Bruckner, Pasadena’s director of planning and community development; Michael Ross, CEO of Pasadena Center Operating Co. (PCOC); and Thomas Seifert, PCOC chairman

3

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Pasadena Convention Center brass welcomed 850 guests to a gala dinner on April 3, celebrating the $150 million expansion adjacent to the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Also addressing the crowd of city officials, clients and media were Thomas Seifert, board chairman of the Pasadena Center Operating Company, and Richard Heim, president and CEO of Clark

2. Home Expo wares on display during opening weekend

Construction Group. The event in the new 25,000-square-

3. Ribbon-cutting ceremony

foot ballroom was part of a grand opening weekend that

Background: Gala dinner ballroom

featured free public entertainment sponsored by the 2

Lockheed Federal Credit Union.

Photo by Stefanie Keenan, courtesy of REDCAT

Pasadena philanthropist Robert

Robert Egelston and Alice Colombe

Garocco Pools &

Egelston was honored at the lavish

Landscaping last

fifth anniversary gala for the Roy

month received a

and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre

Culture Community

in downtown Los Angeles on March

Award from the

14. Egelston, former board chairman

Playhouse District

of the Capital Group, served as the

Association for beau-

chairman of CalArts Board of

tifying the historic

Trustees from 1988 to 1995 and cur-

area after the compa-

rently chairs the boards of the

ny’s move to 656 E.

Colburn Foundation and the Colburn

Green St. nine months

Music Fund. Fellow Pasadena clas-

earlier. Garocco’s contributions include a fountain for the Casa de las

sical music supporter Alice

Amigas women’s recovery center on El Molino Avenue. The company

Colombe paid tribute to Egelston at

also donated a pool, patio and landscaping to Holy Family Church in

the black-tie event in the Walt

South Pasadena for a benefit auction on May 16.

(Clockwise from top left) Garocco’s Gar Sewell, Holy Family Church Monsignor Clement Connolly, Norman’s Nursery’s Ted Norman and church auction team Tina Baker, Cassie Filippone and Sarah Villegas

Disney Concert Hall complex. ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 7


EARTHLY DELIGHTS

The Urban Homestead CITY SLICKERS REVIVE THE FAMILY FARM. STORY AND PHOTOS BY ILSA SETZIOL

YOU KNOW YOU’RE MIDDLE-AGED WHEN YOU GET NOSTALGIC FOR THINGS YOU HATED — OR WHOSE CHARMS ELUDED YOU — AS A CHILD. GROWING UP IN EUGENE, OREGON, IN THE 1970S, I LONGED FOR OREO COOKIES AND LUCKY CHARMS — ANYTHING WITH A BRAND NAME. INSTEAD, I SETTLED FOR MOM’S ZUCCHINI BREAD BAKED WITH HOMEGROWN SQUASH. MY PARENTS ALSO GREW CARROTS, ARTICHOKES, LETTUCE AND RHUBARB. LIKE MANY IN TOWN, THEY WERE A BIT ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT, BUT MOSTLY, THEY GARDENED TO SAVE MONEY.

As I ripened, my taste improved, and homegrown and homemade food became more important, especially after the birth of my son. Now that my husband and I are underemployed, with more time on (and less money in) our hands, we’ve expanded our repertoire beyond a few tomatoes and too many zucchinis. And we’re not alone. In Southern California, and across the nation, there’s a mushrooming movement of people who grow their own food. “There’s a lot more interest in landscapes that do something — provide food or attract pollinators,” says Los Angeles horticulturist Lora Hall of Full Circle Gardening. “People want more than just a lawn.” The National Gardening Association says 43 million American households plan to plant edible gardens this year, a 19 percent increase over last year. And Frank Burkard of Pasadena’s Burkard Nurseries says sales of vegetable plants are up 30 percent. Even the ultimate American household is in on the trend. In March, First Lady Michelle Obama and a group of schoolchildren planted the first White House kitchen garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II victory garden. “I want to make sure that our family, as well as the staff and all the people who come to the White House and eat our food, get access to really fresh vegetables and fruit,” Obama said. Some industrious folks are going even further. They’re turning their urban and suburban homes into something akin to an old-fashioned family farm. Many of these people also preserve some of their harvest, maybe brew their own beer and tinker with various DIY projects around the house. The gardens are organic; composting is de rigueur. When I met this new breed of urban homesteader, my ambitions — and notions of what’s possible — grew a lot bigger. In Eagle Rock, assistant set designer Peggy Casey created a sunny, intimate garden that proves edible plants can be aesthetically appealing and don’t need to be confined to homogeneous rows. In her west yard, lacy spring-green cilantro is flanked by jungle-green, broad-leafed bok choy; orange and yellow carrot tops peek out of rich brown soil. Next to this raised bed, at ground level, vegetables mingle with ornamentals: Spinach neighbors deep-pink carnations, purple sage and blueblossomed rosemary. “There’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own food,” Casey says. “I base my meals on whatever is happening in my vegetable beds.” She cans extra heirloom tomatoes or chops them into 8 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

a pesto that she freezes in cubes. She makes jelly and a sweet barbeque sauce from the fruit of her pink guava tree. Her husband, Erik Hillard, brews beer in their basement and hopes to dabble in wine one day. Casey and I share an enthusiasm for fish emulsion fertilizer, I discover, but for the most part, she’s out of my league. She’s been gardening since she was a kid, having learned from her parents (she paid attention) and others at a communal plot in Santa Barbara during the 1970s. This spring, she is also growing brussels sprouts, snap peas, beets, broccoli, chard, onions and a variety of lettuces. “I try to seed everything myself,” she says. “so I save my seed.” I have abandoned several books about organic gardening, all written by people on the East Coast. Many advise starting vegetables and herbs such as peas and cilantro in late spring or summer. My cilantro bolted before I could harvest any. To solve the problem and grow more myself, I hired master gardener Marta Teegan of Homegrown Los Angeles last year to design a kitchen garden customized for our climate. Casey sympathizes and recommends two books (although she doesn’t use any of the pesticides or synthetic fertilizers they discuss in her organic garden): “Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening” (Chronicle Books; Dec. 1999) and “52 Weeks in A California Garden” by Robert Smaus (L.A. Times Syndicate Books; July 1996). Casey also likes a book that has fast become one of my favorites: “The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in

AMERICAN GOTHIC: Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen are planting and pickling their way to self-sufficiency.

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 9


EARTHLY DELIGHTS

The Urban Homestead CITY SLICKERS REVIVE THE FAMILY FARM. STORY AND PHOTOS BY ILSA SETZIOL

YOU KNOW YOU’RE MIDDLE-AGED WHEN YOU GET NOSTALGIC FOR THINGS YOU HATED — OR WHOSE CHARMS ELUDED YOU — AS A CHILD. GROWING UP IN EUGENE, OREGON, IN THE 1970S, I LONGED FOR OREO COOKIES AND LUCKY CHARMS — ANYTHING WITH A BRAND NAME. INSTEAD, I SETTLED FOR MOM’S ZUCCHINI BREAD BAKED WITH HOMEGROWN SQUASH. MY PARENTS ALSO GREW CARROTS, ARTICHOKES, LETTUCE AND RHUBARB. LIKE MANY IN TOWN, THEY WERE A BIT ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT, BUT MOSTLY, THEY GARDENED TO SAVE MONEY.

As I ripened, my taste improved, and homegrown and homemade food became more important, especially after the birth of my son. Now that my husband and I are underemployed, with more time on (and less money in) our hands, we’ve expanded our repertoire beyond a few tomatoes and too many zucchinis. And we’re not alone. In Southern California, and across the nation, there’s a mushrooming movement of people who grow their own food. “There’s a lot more interest in landscapes that do something — provide food or attract pollinators,” says Los Angeles horticulturist Lora Hall of Full Circle Gardening. “People want more than just a lawn.” The National Gardening Association says 43 million American households plan to plant edible gardens this year, a 19 percent increase over last year. And Frank Burkard of Pasadena’s Burkard Nurseries says sales of vegetable plants are up 30 percent. Even the ultimate American household is in on the trend. In March, First Lady Michelle Obama and a group of schoolchildren planted the first White House kitchen garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II victory garden. “I want to make sure that our family, as well as the staff and all the people who come to the White House and eat our food, get access to really fresh vegetables and fruit,” Obama said. Some industrious folks are going even further. They’re turning their urban and suburban homes into something akin to an old-fashioned family farm. Many of these people also preserve some of their harvest, maybe brew their own beer and tinker with various DIY projects around the house. The gardens are organic; composting is de rigueur. When I met this new breed of urban homesteader, my ambitions — and notions of what’s possible — grew a lot bigger. In Eagle Rock, assistant set designer Peggy Casey created a sunny, intimate garden that proves edible plants can be aesthetically appealing and don’t need to be confined to homogeneous rows. In her west yard, lacy spring-green cilantro is flanked by jungle-green, broad-leafed bok choy; orange and yellow carrot tops peek out of rich brown soil. Next to this raised bed, at ground level, vegetables mingle with ornamentals: Spinach neighbors deep-pink carnations, purple sage and blueblossomed rosemary. “There’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own food,” Casey says. “I base my meals on whatever is happening in my vegetable beds.” She cans extra heirloom tomatoes or chops them into 8 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

a pesto that she freezes in cubes. She makes jelly and a sweet barbeque sauce from the fruit of her pink guava tree. Her husband, Erik Hillard, brews beer in their basement and hopes to dabble in wine one day. Casey and I share an enthusiasm for fish emulsion fertilizer, I discover, but for the most part, she’s out of my league. She’s been gardening since she was a kid, having learned from her parents (she paid attention) and others at a communal plot in Santa Barbara during the 1970s. This spring, she is also growing brussels sprouts, snap peas, beets, broccoli, chard, onions and a variety of lettuces. “I try to seed everything myself,” she says. “so I save my seed.” I have abandoned several books about organic gardening, all written by people on the East Coast. Many advise starting vegetables and herbs such as peas and cilantro in late spring or summer. My cilantro bolted before I could harvest any. To solve the problem and grow more myself, I hired master gardener Marta Teegan of Homegrown Los Angeles last year to design a kitchen garden customized for our climate. Casey sympathizes and recommends two books (although she doesn’t use any of the pesticides or synthetic fertilizers they discuss in her organic garden): “Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening” (Chronicle Books; Dec. 1999) and “52 Weeks in A California Garden” by Robert Smaus (L.A. Times Syndicate Books; July 1996). Casey also likes a book that has fast become one of my favorites: “The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in

AMERICAN GOTHIC: Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen are planting and pickling their way to self-sufficiency.

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 9


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the Heart of the City” by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (Process; June 2008). What this couple is doing is so cool, I had to meet them. When I arrive at their house in Edendale, between Echo Park and Silverlake, I notice there isn’t a lawn. The front and back yards are a tangle of edible and medicinal plants. In raised beds covering the street strip — that normally barren patch between the sidewalk and the street — sweet peas climb an obelisk-shaped trellis, and cabbages as big as basketballs unfurl veiny leaves. As we climb up their steep front yard, Knutzen points out several vegetables I recognize — asparagus, garlic, sorrel, fava beans and Swiss chard — as well as some I don’t, such as Jew’s mallow (a green popular in the Middle East) and cardoon (an aster with an artichoke-like flavor, common in colonial American gardens). Coyne and Knutzen also grow tree collards, artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes. “We really like perennial vegetables,” Knutzen explains, “because I’m lazy and don’t like to replant stuff constantly.” Elsewhere in the yard, a drip irrigation system waters plants most gardeners don’t nurture: dandelion, chickweed, purselain and stinging nettle. Coyne dries the nettles, then brews them into tea, and tosses chickweed into her stirfries and salads. Europeans brought many of the plants we consider weeds to the Americas as potherbs — wild greens to toss in the stew pot. The couple’s yard and their yellow 1920s bungalow are filled with DIY projects: a compost bin made from tires picked off the street, a solar oven cobbled from cardboard and tinfoil, a homemade solar dehydrator, a gray-water system that pipes used laundry water to the garden and self-watering pots fashioned from plastic storage bins. I’m curious how this all came about. Coyne is a former administrative director of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, dedicated to obscure fields of knowledge, and Knutzen is a program coordinator for the neighboring Center for Land Use Interpretation. When they bought their home a decade ago, the couple couldn’t muster enough interest to start a lawn and didn’t want to futz with flowers. “Why grow a lawn when we could grow something useful?” Knutzen says. “I suspect our carbon footprint is quite low,” adds Coyne, “but that was never our intention. It just so happens that a commonsensical style of living is, by default, green living.” In Pasadena, the Dervaes family — Jules and his three adult children — grow about 6,000 pounds of produce a year on a fifth of an acre north of the Foothill Freeway. They supply local restaurants and document their lifestyle on the website pathtofreedom.com. They also brew their own biodiesel, power their house with solar panels and bake in a cob oven — a stove fueled by scraps of wood and twigs from their property. The family declined to be interviewed for this story. Spokeswoman Janice Bakke said, “They are the original urban homesteaders” and didn’t want to participate in a story that included the authors of “The Urban Homestead,” with whom they have a dispute. She said the Dervaeses claim ownership of the term “urban homestead” and believe Coyne and Knutzen have infringed upon it. Knutzen and Coyne say neither the family nor its representatives have been in contact with them. The Dervaeses are also involved in another organic gardening trend: keeping livestock in the city. They tend chickens, ducks and a couple of goats. Livestock are useful for organic gardeners, who don’t apply synthetic chemicals and rely on manures and compost to supply nitrogen to their plants. After years of pleading, Casey has convinced her spouse to help her build a henhouse and chicken run. Soon, three hens — no roosters — will move in. In addition to better compost, Casey is looking forward to fresher eggs with less cholesterol.

Photo: Erik Hillard (Peggy Casey)

When it comes to your pet – Only the Best!

EARTHLY DELIGHTS


PARADISE FOUND: Peggy Casey draws nutritional and aesthetic sustenance from her Eagle Rock garden.

Coyne and Knutzen own four hens and give tips on raising ducks, pigeons, quail and rabbits in the city. “No! We’re not getting rabbits!” That’s my husband yelling into his cell phone when I inform him that rabbit poop is especially high in nitrogen, and, by the way, our son loves bunnies. My son will have to settle for pet worms. (Worm castings are another popular organic fertilizer.) Back at the Coyne-Knutzen homestead, the couple ushers me into their kitchen, where the cupboards brim with mason jars. Coyne pulls a few off the shelves — homemade marmalade made with a neighbor’s grapefruits, lactofermented (brined) pickles, apple cider vinegar, pickled okra and hot peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and honey from their beekeeping club. As I wrap up my visit, I wonder aloud if my husband and I could keep on top of so many projects. “We don’t suggest people try to do all these things,” Knutzen says. “We’d just be happy if someone did one or two to start out.” Coyne hopes people will feel more empowered, one project at a time. “Once you’ve mastered one thing and it’s integrated into your routine, then you add something else, so your skill set builds,” she says. “And slowly your house is transformed.” I take these words to heart. Within a few weeks, I’ve cracked some new garden books and sprouted some basil, tomato and pumpkin seeds. And I’m still surveying my yard for any promising patch of open ground. AM Ilsa Setziol gardens at her San Gabriel home. Her blog on exploring nature in Southern California is ramblingla.com.

PHOTO: Erik Hillard (Peggy Casey)

STARTER TIPS FOR ASPIRING HOMESTEADERS • Make a raised bed and fill it with potting soil and/or compost. Peggy Casey recommends Garden Bloom Soil or other brands that include earthworm castings. Make or buy self-watering containers “because the plant draws up water as it needs it,” says Kelly Coyne. • If you’re planting this month, stick to heat-loving crops such as beans, corn, summer squash, cucumbers, melons and pumpkins. You can also try cherry tomatoes, if you buy seedlings. • Convinced you can’t grow a thing? Take a class or hire someone to help get you started. I recommend homegrownlosangeles.com. • Start composting. L.A. County offers classes and a discount on commercial composting bins at smartgardening.com. • Stop exporting green waste. It will save you money and cut pollution. Tree leaves, bark and chopped-up twigs make great mulch. Conserve water by using a thick layer — as much as four inches — around plants, but keep a little space around the base of the plants bare.

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EARTHLY DELIGHTS

WIND IN THE WILLOWS

PATRICK DOUGHERTY’S “CATAWAMPUS,” AN UNDULATING SCULPTURE OF TWISTED TWIGS AND CHILDHOOD DREAMS, TAKES ROOT AT THE L.A. COUNTY ARBORETUM. BY B.J. LORENZO

IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A CATAWAMPUS, HEAD OVER TO THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY ARBORETUM & BOTANIC GARDEN IN ARCADIA AND EXPERIENCE THE THRILL. WHAT YOU’LL FIND ON A LAWN NEAR THE WATERFALL IS A SOARING ROOFLESS HOUSE OF MANY ROOMS, WOVEN ENTIRELY OF BRANCHES AND

A catawampus, according to Roget’s Thesaurus, is something that’s askew, aslant, awry, bent, crooked, curved, knotted, lopsided, twisted and turned. This one is all that and much more. It has lacy, undulating tilted walls, round swirled “windows” and a feeling of déjà vu, perhaps recalling a time in childhood when you were lost in the woods, or studied a bird’s nest, or built a tree house from found wood. “Catawampus” can evoke all that because it is a work of art. Its creator is renowned North Carolina-based sculptor Patrick Dougherty, whose imagination is exceeded only by his ability to actualize the unique fantasies he harbors in his head, which take form in cockeyed weavings of willow wood. Dougherty’s 200-odd outdoor artworks, which dot the globe, seem shaped by natural (and sometimes supernatural) forces: huge windswept whorls of twisted twigs whose forms occur to the sculptor as he builds. He says his ideas are inspired by a specific site, by the surrounding landscape and by local history and culture. In Ireland, for example, he constructed a zany 42-foot woven column inspired by round towers that still dot the Irish countryside, built by monks in the eighth century. He says his “church” of willows at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden reflected his infatuation with California’s Spanish missions. And his piece at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix was essentially an homage to Arizona’s spectacular barrel cacti. The sculptor’s work in Arcadia is the first entry in the Arboretum’s new Art in the Garden program, funded by the Dan Murphy Foundation and the annual giving campaign. It’s a bit more squared and conventional than most, he admits, primarily because the 127-acre Arboretum itself is “so well organized and laid out.” He says he wanted to build a space visitors could experi12 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

ence inside and out, one that offers an alternative view of the universe seen by peering through spaces in the comforting walls of woven willow twigs. “I should explain that I use saplings, that is, small trees, in my work and weave very large elaborate forms from them,” Dougherty, 63, told the Arboretum’s Susan Eubank in an online interview. “On one level, these sculptures give the impression that a flock of birds have been sneaking performanceenhancing drugs.” Well, yes. Dougherty’s imaginative carpentry, as seen on his website, stickwork.net, is somehow reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.” Full of wit and whimsy, his constructions could be gargantuan nests or hives or lairs of mammoth mythical beasts. To create his installations, Dougherty uses scaffolding to build an armature of strong branches and then fills out the structure with smaller branches and twigs until it comes to life. The creative process seems almost totally serendipitous, to hear him describe it, but admiring art critics have written about Dougherty’s connection to architectural theory and his painterly discipline. The artist says he uses formal drawing conventions to create interesting surfaces: Emphasis lines and texture are achieved by using heavier branches; shading is achieved by using branches with different tints. His Arboretum sculpture reflects the tonal and textural variety of some 25 types of California willow. Of course, it’s easy for the casual visitor to miss these details. But sit on the bench near his “Catawampus” and observe it for a while. You’ll soon see that the branch swirls around the circular open “windows” look very much like the paintbrush strokes in Van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night.”

PHOTOS: courtesy Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (background); David C. Calicchio (portrait)

TWIGS — ALL OF IT MONUMENTALLY OFF-KILTER. What Dougherty says propels his use of materials is the ancient huntergatherer imperative: that is, to forage in the woods and build from scratch. “Before building supply stores ever existed, humans simply went to the woods to gather saplings in order to build houses, make tools and weave baskets,” he says. He believes humans still carry the residue of that primitive instinct buried in their brains. His goal as an artist, apparently, is to unearth the instinct and harness it to create sculpture that illuminates our connection with nature in unexpected ways. Although most artists strive to do work that will survive them, Dougherty takes an opposite tack. All his outdoor sculptures are temporary, designed to evolve with the seasons and survive only as long as the elements (or the curators) allow. Left untouched, they will eventually deteriorate and disappear. “Everything in the universe is temporary, in one sense or another,” says the artist, who does one new installation per month for museums, universities or civic entities around the world. “I’ve made my peace with that.” The temporary aspect of Dougherty’s work is one reason he was chosen as the first artist in the Arboretum’s new series. “He’s an environmental artist, and his work is very much aligned with the Arboretum’s mission,” says spokesperson Cynthia Vargas. “This sculpture will disintegrate and become earth again.” The thrill for him, he says, is the actual construction of the work, the interaction with volunteers who help him build it, the emergence of phenomenal shapes that arise unbidden. “I don’t worry about what happens afterward,” he says. “The curators are free to erase it by taking it down the next day, if they choose.”

NATURAL MAN: Sculptor Patrick Dougherty turns willows into wonders.

Of course, that’s not what they choose. Timothy Phillips, Arboretum superintendent, says Dougherty’s “Catawampus” has been a magnet for visitors since it was unveiled in February 2008. It will stand for at least another year, Phillips says. It’s strong and stable, he adds, “and it is constantly changing, which is fascinating to watch. Dougherty started with flexible, fresh young saplings, which then dried and weathered and shifted shape. Some saplings near the ground took root, and there’s a bit of green showing.” Others, higher up, are in the process of decay. “It’s organic material,” he says, “and it is doing what nature meant it to.” AM ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 13


EARTHLY DELIGHTS

WIND IN THE WILLOWS

PATRICK DOUGHERTY’S “CATAWAMPUS,” AN UNDULATING SCULPTURE OF TWISTED TWIGS AND CHILDHOOD DREAMS, TAKES ROOT AT THE L.A. COUNTY ARBORETUM. BY B.J. LORENZO

IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A CATAWAMPUS, HEAD OVER TO THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY ARBORETUM & BOTANIC GARDEN IN ARCADIA AND EXPERIENCE THE THRILL. WHAT YOU’LL FIND ON A LAWN NEAR THE WATERFALL IS A SOARING ROOFLESS HOUSE OF MANY ROOMS, WOVEN ENTIRELY OF BRANCHES AND

A catawampus, according to Roget’s Thesaurus, is something that’s askew, aslant, awry, bent, crooked, curved, knotted, lopsided, twisted and turned. This one is all that and much more. It has lacy, undulating tilted walls, round swirled “windows” and a feeling of déjà vu, perhaps recalling a time in childhood when you were lost in the woods, or studied a bird’s nest, or built a tree house from found wood. “Catawampus” can evoke all that because it is a work of art. Its creator is renowned North Carolina-based sculptor Patrick Dougherty, whose imagination is exceeded only by his ability to actualize the unique fantasies he harbors in his head, which take form in cockeyed weavings of willow wood. Dougherty’s 200-odd outdoor artworks, which dot the globe, seem shaped by natural (and sometimes supernatural) forces: huge windswept whorls of twisted twigs whose forms occur to the sculptor as he builds. He says his ideas are inspired by a specific site, by the surrounding landscape and by local history and culture. In Ireland, for example, he constructed a zany 42-foot woven column inspired by round towers that still dot the Irish countryside, built by monks in the eighth century. He says his “church” of willows at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden reflected his infatuation with California’s Spanish missions. And his piece at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix was essentially an homage to Arizona’s spectacular barrel cacti. The sculptor’s work in Arcadia is the first entry in the Arboretum’s new Art in the Garden program, funded by the Dan Murphy Foundation and the annual giving campaign. It’s a bit more squared and conventional than most, he admits, primarily because the 127-acre Arboretum itself is “so well organized and laid out.” He says he wanted to build a space visitors could experi12 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

ence inside and out, one that offers an alternative view of the universe seen by peering through spaces in the comforting walls of woven willow twigs. “I should explain that I use saplings, that is, small trees, in my work and weave very large elaborate forms from them,” Dougherty, 63, told the Arboretum’s Susan Eubank in an online interview. “On one level, these sculptures give the impression that a flock of birds have been sneaking performanceenhancing drugs.” Well, yes. Dougherty’s imaginative carpentry, as seen on his website, stickwork.net, is somehow reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.” Full of wit and whimsy, his constructions could be gargantuan nests or hives or lairs of mammoth mythical beasts. To create his installations, Dougherty uses scaffolding to build an armature of strong branches and then fills out the structure with smaller branches and twigs until it comes to life. The creative process seems almost totally serendipitous, to hear him describe it, but admiring art critics have written about Dougherty’s connection to architectural theory and his painterly discipline. The artist says he uses formal drawing conventions to create interesting surfaces: Emphasis lines and texture are achieved by using heavier branches; shading is achieved by using branches with different tints. His Arboretum sculpture reflects the tonal and textural variety of some 25 types of California willow. Of course, it’s easy for the casual visitor to miss these details. But sit on the bench near his “Catawampus” and observe it for a while. You’ll soon see that the branch swirls around the circular open “windows” look very much like the paintbrush strokes in Van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night.”

PHOTOS: courtesy Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (background); David C. Calicchio (portrait)

TWIGS — ALL OF IT MONUMENTALLY OFF-KILTER. What Dougherty says propels his use of materials is the ancient huntergatherer imperative: that is, to forage in the woods and build from scratch. “Before building supply stores ever existed, humans simply went to the woods to gather saplings in order to build houses, make tools and weave baskets,” he says. He believes humans still carry the residue of that primitive instinct buried in their brains. His goal as an artist, apparently, is to unearth the instinct and harness it to create sculpture that illuminates our connection with nature in unexpected ways. Although most artists strive to do work that will survive them, Dougherty takes an opposite tack. All his outdoor sculptures are temporary, designed to evolve with the seasons and survive only as long as the elements (or the curators) allow. Left untouched, they will eventually deteriorate and disappear. “Everything in the universe is temporary, in one sense or another,” says the artist, who does one new installation per month for museums, universities or civic entities around the world. “I’ve made my peace with that.” The temporary aspect of Dougherty’s work is one reason he was chosen as the first artist in the Arboretum’s new series. “He’s an environmental artist, and his work is very much aligned with the Arboretum’s mission,” says spokesperson Cynthia Vargas. “This sculpture will disintegrate and become earth again.” The thrill for him, he says, is the actual construction of the work, the interaction with volunteers who help him build it, the emergence of phenomenal shapes that arise unbidden. “I don’t worry about what happens afterward,” he says. “The curators are free to erase it by taking it down the next day, if they choose.”

NATURAL MAN: Sculptor Patrick Dougherty turns willows into wonders.

Of course, that’s not what they choose. Timothy Phillips, Arboretum superintendent, says Dougherty’s “Catawampus” has been a magnet for visitors since it was unveiled in February 2008. It will stand for at least another year, Phillips says. It’s strong and stable, he adds, “and it is constantly changing, which is fascinating to watch. Dougherty started with flexible, fresh young saplings, which then dried and weathered and shifted shape. Some saplings near the ground took root, and there’s a bit of green showing.” Others, higher up, are in the process of decay. “It’s organic material,” he says, “and it is doing what nature meant it to.” AM ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 13


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The answer was found close to home, in Arlington Garden, where the trees were replanted. One of the city’s most impressive yet often overlooked natural wonders, the three-acre community garden replaced a lot long abandoned and weed-covered, now a destination for serenity seekers and plant lovers across the Southland. Arlington is also home to a 50-tree orange grove available for public plucking, an herb garden with plenty of seating for meditation and conversation, pine trees, succulents, even a solar-powered fountain and a decorative miniature CULTIVATING COUPLE: amphitheater. But perhaps the most Charles and Betty McKenney lead the patch of garden volunteers. fertile turf at Arlington Garden is the imagination of its caretakers — a dedicated volunteer corps led by Charles and Betty McKenney, a retired couple who live near the horticultural sanctuary at Arlington Drive and Pasadena Avenue. “We like to point out that there are gardens and there are parks. This is a garden,” says Charles. “In parks, the people are the focal point, but here the plants are the focus. One woman said there’s a surprise around every corner.” The lush grounds were originally the site of the Durand House, a threestory, 17,000-square-foot residence designed by architect R.L. Roehrig for millionaire John Durand. Completed in 1905, the French château-style manse was said to be the largest residence in Southern California until it was razed in 1961, a year after Durand’s death. Caltrans bought the land to use as a staging area for construction of the 710 Freeway extension. But that road was never built and the land was largely neglected, falling prey to massive weeds, cut back only a few times a year by the highway agency. So in 2003, Caltrans offered Pasadena a lease on the land. “Councilman Steve Madison held a meeting and nobody came up with what they wanted,” recalls Charles, a retired lawyer. “All they said were things like ‘no restrooms, no parking lots, no playgrounds.’ Then one morning, Betty was reading an L.A. Times Sunday Magazine story on Mediterranean gardens and she said, ‘Why not make a garden?’ Madison liked the idea, so we got the ball rolling.” The McKenneys recruited Cal Poly Pomona landscape design students to create concept drawings for the garden’s layout. The plan involved growing plants which require relatively little water, a feature that won the support of the Pasadena Department of Water and Power. Thus armed, the couple persuaded the City Council to sign a lease for $100 per year. Funded by the city and private donations, Culver City–based landscape architect Mayita Dinos came on board to design the garden, from saplings down to the last bench, all of which was supplied, planted and created by volunteers. The original concept called for a Mediterranean-style demonstration garden, with drought-tolerant plants and trees from five corners of the world with dry, hot summers and rainfall in the late fall and early winter — the Mediterranean Sea region, of course, and Australia, southwestern South Africa, parts of central Chile and California. Dinos says she organized the garden into what she calls “two stylistic vernaculars: a Mediterranean vernacular on the top knoll part, with plants from all Mediterranean countries, and the lower two-thirds is primarily a California aesthetic. We used primarily native California plants that haven’t been used much in people’s gardens [such as firecracker, penstemon, bigberry manzanita

and sticky monkey flower], yet they’re the most perfect to use in often-dry climates and are also important in giving butterflies and bees the right kind of food they need for the area.” In fact, the vibrant array of plants has sparked the return of more than 50 types of birds and countless bees and butterflies to the garden grounds, says Charles. The resulting winged wonder, in endless varieties and colors, was a welcome addition to the neighborhood for the McKenneys. “We live next door to the garden property, and for many years we were stuck looking at three pots of bamboo and past that, all weeds,” says Betty, a retired Caltech computer trainer. “We started with 13 trees — including seven palms, two oaks, a jacaranda and a pepper tree — and we’ve put in over 350 trees since then. And all of it we did by learning as we went.” The McKenneys fund the nonprofit garden with the $20,000 to $25,000 a year they raise from mail campaigns and an additional $27,500 from the city budget and DWP. The couple hope to raise even more so they can add fountains, a patio and another arbor. Their efforts have won plaudits from the city and the community, netting them a Community Service Award from the West Pasadena Residents’ Association and a Contemporary History Maker Award from the Pasadena Museum of History. “It’s a perfect showcase for how beautiful low-waterusing, drought-tolerant plants can be,” says Pasadena Parks Supervisor Ana Quintanilla. “The amount of water used compared to other types of plants in the same acreage is staggeringly low. It’s a perfect balance of Mediterranean plants and California natives as well.” For the McKenneys, the best reward is knowing they’ve created a little patch of heaven on parched earth. “This garden started as a demonstration garden of how you can grow an attractive garden in Southern California without using too much water, and that’s been successful,” says Charles. “Every day, people come out here with notebooks and cameras. People have found this is a place where they can come and sit to have a coffee in the morning on their own, or have a business meeting or come with families. One Pasadena middleschool girl who came here said she liked it ‘because I can hear my thoughts here.’ That tells us what a lot of people think. We have an urbanized community here in Pasadena, but people can come here for peace.” AM ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 19


ARROYO

HOME&DESIGN

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ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 25


—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

INTERIOR DESIGN

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The Facelift is a trend resulting from the concern over the economy. Improving your real estate is a safe investment, but spending less is important. Rather than gutting an entire room and replacing everything, a facelift is comprised of making a few improvements for half the budget. The kitchen pictured has a new granite countertop, tile backsplash, sinks, faucet, and lighting over the island. Floors were refinished and cabinets painted. Call Cynthia Bennett and Associates, Inc. for your kitchen or bathroom facelift. (626) 799-9701 or cynthiabennett.com

What’s old is new! That is the trend today. A 100-year-old trend, which is popular and green at the same time, is cork floors. As you can see at the Old Pasadena Library, Cork floors are all natural (straight from the bark of the cork oak tree!), biodegradable and long lasting. Another “natural” trend is real linoleum (“Marmoleum”). Invented over 115 years ago and made from wood fibers, linseed oil and jute, this product is naturally non-allergenic and bacteria-resistant. Carousel Floors has the largest selection of green flooring products. Would you expect anything less from a company that has been located on Green Street for the past 38 years? 676 E. Green St., at the corner of El Molino Ave. (626) 795-8085

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DREAMMAKER BATH & KITCHEN At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, building green and using recyclable products is a priority. For example, in our showroom you can view our countertop display made of fresh glass from old liquor bottles, windows, stemware, dinnerware, traffic lights and many other unusual sources! With Vetrazzo glass surfaces, you are able to express both your style and your respect for the earth without compromise. These surfaces are stain-resistant and can be made in many different unique shapes, styles and colors. Dreammaker Kitchen & Bath is the exclusive dealer for Vetrazzo surfaces, located at 25 Flower St. in Arcadia or (626) 445-3100. dreammaker-SGV.com

CAL SHADES Dress up your outdoor entertaining area with outdoor curtain panels, attractive awnings or shades. With summer coming, many homeowners are looking for the newest trends to keep the heat out. Fabric awnings are effective as well as slide wire shades. The most effective way to stop the heat is with an external shading device. In addition to controlling light and temperature, the Slide on Wire Shade filters out harmful ultraviolet rays by up to 90%, which protects furniture and fabrics from fading. Call Cal Shades for more information on the Slide on Wire Shade at 1800-257-7886 or visit calshades.com.

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OUTDOOR LIVING

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Trends in landscaping design we anticipate seeing are the result of water restrictions or higher-priced water. People would be surprised at the array of plants that we love that are lush – yet can survive on minimal water. Everything doesn’t have to be cactus or succulents. The key is planting plants of the same water needs on the same valve. Technology now available allows you to reduce your water needs by up to 50 %. Call Garden View Landscape at (626) 303-4043.

The design trend for today’s modern pool is creating a unique environment with function and safety. Huge rock grottos, rockslides and even diving boards are becoming obsolete. Low-profile fountain swimming pools, with minimum hardscape that incorporates an automatic pool cover, is the new trend for today’s modern family. Having peace of mind with a safe pool while still enjoying water features, surrounding outdoor environments and fireplaces, in a garden setting, is the new outdoor environment design trend. 695 E. Green St., Pasadena. (866) 427-6226 or garocco.com

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 33

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OUTDOOR LIVING

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A popular trend requested by our customers recently is the “California Garden”, which is a harmonious blend of California native plants, Mediterranean classics, cacti, succulents and drought-tolerant plants from around the world. All plants work together to take advantage of low water consumption while still displaying stunning shows of color and form. With specific knowledge of this large selection of plants, we can create various landscapes to meet and match your needs. Call for a free consultation, (626) 6767893 or visit us at mammamountain.com

The World is changing. Whether you call it a trend, or a responsibility, it's time to Go Green. Among other things, sustainability means solar-powered lighting, LEDs, edible gardens and water reclamation for irrigation. Plus you can save money in the process. We recently joined with ECOsmarteR, a company that makes ion purification systems, allowing us to build chemical-free pools. Resource-hungry landscapes are a thing of the past. Contact (626) 296-2617 or mothermagnolia.com.

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OUTDOOR LIVING OUTDOOR COLLECTION Today’s hottest outdoor trend is the outdoor living room ... a favorite for hotels & resorts for years and now available for residential settings. Why go to an expensive resort for the weekend when you can turn your back yard into one? Invest in something that will bring comfort and style for the long run! Teak Warehouse boasts over 16 varied collections of deep seating, offering teak and wicker, at the best prices in California. 133 E. Maple Ave., Monrovia. (626) 305-8325 or teakwarehouse.com

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The "Heart of the Home" has moved outdoors. Today’s trend of outdoor living and entertaining requires its own space. One that is well-equipped and stocked to whip up a family meal or a party for friends. Take your outdoor living experience to the next level with an outdoor kitchen designed with cabinetry specifically built from materials for the outdoors, with options of beautiful cypress or teak doors. Jan can help turn your dreams into reality with great designs for every room in or “outside” your home. Call us at (626) 345-1750.

A current trend and successful formula for selling a home quickly is making sure that you have it professionally staged, along with clean, sharp, uncluttered photos of the home. Make sure your agent has a dedicated website to showcase your home’s pictures. Today’s home-buyer wants to buy a home that makes sense, so close attention will be paid to structural authenticity, especially if the home is historic. Lin has over 25 years of experience in the San Gabriel Valley real estate market. (626) 688-6464 ■

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Date & time in: _____________________ Approved G.H. Wilke G.H. Wilke began in 1929 when watchmaker Gilbert H. Wilke pur- with chang Production time out: _________________

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CHANGES:ing the Great Depression. Moving successfully through subsequent decades and Fax Back uprooting to CA in 1946, Gil kept his eyes on his goals. Satisfying customers, being part of the community and behaving with professional integrity were his hallmarks since the inception of his business. Tracy R. Wilke and Dario Pirozko are now guiding G.H. Wilke & Co. into further realms of custom design, estate, and antique jewelry and an eclectic blend of contemporary styles. Our customers just call us “my candy store.” 612 W. Las Tunas Drive in San Gabriel. 626) 284-9444 John Moran Auctioneers Expertly serving clients since 1969, John Moran Auctioneers is a full-service auction house offering quality objects and complete personalized dedication. Monthly estate and fine furniture auctions are where collectors, dealers, decorators and others gather to buy the finest antiques, silver, American Indian, oil and watercolor paintings, jewelry, unusual accessories and much more. They also hold an auction (three times per year) for exceptional California and American paintings. Consignment and the purchasing of estates. 735 W. Woodbury Road, Altadena. Call (626) 793-1833 or visit www.johnmoran.com. ■

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EARTHLY DELIGHTS

GOINGNATIVE TIVE GROW LOCAL FLORA WITH PLANTS FROM OTHER MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES FOR A FRAGRANT GARDEN THAT BLOOMS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. BY ILSA SETZIOL | PHOTOS BY SEAN MACGILLIVRAY

WHEN ELISA AND ERIC CALLOW PURCHASED GAINSBURGH HOUSE IN LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE EIGHT YEARS AGO, THE GARDEN WASN’T PART OF THE ALLURE. THE HOUSE — DESIGNED BY LLOYD WRIGHT, THE SON OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT — WOWED THEM, BUT THE YARD WAS AN UNAPPEALING MIX OF IVY AND DISEASED SHRUBS. SO ERIC CALLOW, A FINANCIAL ADVISOR AND OUTDOORSMAN, DECIDED TO TRY HIS HAND AT REDESIGNING THE GROUNDS. HE WANTED TO USE PLANTS INDIGENOUS TO CALIFORNIA “BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT, LITERALLY, A LANDSCAPE THAT IS BEAUTIFUL, UNDER ATTACK AND WHICH I KNOW FROM MY CHILDHOOD.” “People are starting to appreciate gardens for more than beauty,” says horticulturist Lili Singer, who organizes the annual Native Garden Tour. “Gardens are also about the environment and ecology. And the misconceptions about native gardens are falling away. You can do any style of garden, even formal if you don’t want a wild look.” In the Callows’ garden, Elisa points out a few of her favorites: native irises (Iris douglasiana) and coral bells (Heuchera), a delicate plant with bell-shaped flowers that dangle from long, thin stalks. “For something that’s so constructed and organized, it still has a feeling of naturalness, which I like,” she says. She’s also pleased with the many birds and bees the plants attract. Most of the Callows’ plants are indigenous to Southern California’s two dominant hillside habitats: chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Chaparral plants are usually large evergreens and include such crowd-pleasers as Ceonothus — which sports clusters of blue or white blossoms reminiscent of lilacs — and manzanita, prized for its red bark, tiny, urn-shaped flowers and berries that resemble little apples. Aromatic sages, dominant in a sage-scrub habitat, unfurl tiered whorls of petite flowers that hummingbirds adore. In the wild, most of this plant community has been lost to bulldozers.

The new garden is dominated by clusters of leafy shrubs, pockets of perennial herbaceous flowers and a meadow of wildflowers. Native gardens are commonly assumed to be brown and full of succulents, but desert-friendly plants are actually uncommon in local ecosystems. After all, most of California is not a desert; it has a Mediterranean climate — hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Most native plants are less thirsty than common garden plants, but they still create verdant, colorful gardens — even more so when they mingle with others from a similar climate. For the past five years, the Callows’ yard has been a popular stop on the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour. The Sun Valley–based Theodore Payne Foundation has been dedicated to the understanding and preservation of California flora since 1960, but its nursery has only recently begun attracting significant numbers of homeowners and landscapers who snatch up its plants as fast as the foundation can grow them.

IN THE PINK: Purple Three-Awn grass, Elijah Blue Fescue and red verbena thrive in Elisa and Eric Callow’s La Cañada Flintridge garden.

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

38 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 39


EARTHLY DELIGHTS

GOINGNATIVE TIVE GROW LOCAL FLORA WITH PLANTS FROM OTHER MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES FOR A FRAGRANT GARDEN THAT BLOOMS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. BY ILSA SETZIOL | PHOTOS BY SEAN MACGILLIVRAY

WHEN ELISA AND ERIC CALLOW PURCHASED GAINSBURGH HOUSE IN LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE EIGHT YEARS AGO, THE GARDEN WASN’T PART OF THE ALLURE. THE HOUSE — DESIGNED BY LLOYD WRIGHT, THE SON OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT — WOWED THEM, BUT THE YARD WAS AN UNAPPEALING MIX OF IVY AND DISEASED SHRUBS. SO ERIC CALLOW, A FINANCIAL ADVISOR AND OUTDOORSMAN, DECIDED TO TRY HIS HAND AT REDESIGNING THE GROUNDS. HE WANTED TO USE PLANTS INDIGENOUS TO CALIFORNIA “BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT, LITERALLY, A LANDSCAPE THAT IS BEAUTIFUL, UNDER ATTACK AND WHICH I KNOW FROM MY CHILDHOOD.” “People are starting to appreciate gardens for more than beauty,” says horticulturist Lili Singer, who organizes the annual Native Garden Tour. “Gardens are also about the environment and ecology. And the misconceptions about native gardens are falling away. You can do any style of garden, even formal if you don’t want a wild look.” In the Callows’ garden, Elisa points out a few of her favorites: native irises (Iris douglasiana) and coral bells (Heuchera), a delicate plant with bell-shaped flowers that dangle from long, thin stalks. “For something that’s so constructed and organized, it still has a feeling of naturalness, which I like,” she says. She’s also pleased with the many birds and bees the plants attract. Most of the Callows’ plants are indigenous to Southern California’s two dominant hillside habitats: chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Chaparral plants are usually large evergreens and include such crowd-pleasers as Ceonothus — which sports clusters of blue or white blossoms reminiscent of lilacs — and manzanita, prized for its red bark, tiny, urn-shaped flowers and berries that resemble little apples. Aromatic sages, dominant in a sage-scrub habitat, unfurl tiered whorls of petite flowers that hummingbirds adore. In the wild, most of this plant community has been lost to bulldozers.

The new garden is dominated by clusters of leafy shrubs, pockets of perennial herbaceous flowers and a meadow of wildflowers. Native gardens are commonly assumed to be brown and full of succulents, but desert-friendly plants are actually uncommon in local ecosystems. After all, most of California is not a desert; it has a Mediterranean climate — hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Most native plants are less thirsty than common garden plants, but they still create verdant, colorful gardens — even more so when they mingle with others from a similar climate. For the past five years, the Callows’ yard has been a popular stop on the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour. The Sun Valley–based Theodore Payne Foundation has been dedicated to the understanding and preservation of California flora since 1960, but its nursery has only recently begun attracting significant numbers of homeowners and landscapers who snatch up its plants as fast as the foundation can grow them.

IN THE PINK: Purple Three-Awn grass, Elijah Blue Fescue and red verbena thrive in Elisa and Eric Callow’s La Cañada Flintridge garden.

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

38 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 39


EARTHLY DELIGHTS

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39

At first, some of the Callows’ friends were unimpressed with their garden. “They’d say, ‘Why do you have all these weeds in your backyard?’” recalls Elisa, founding director of the Armory Center for the Arts. Now, many of the plants have matured, and they’re gaining more fans. “People love sitting outside when we entertain,” she says. “Our garden has a lot of variety. A more traditional garden is flat lawn and a bed around the perimeter; there’s nowhere for your eye to go. This has a feeling of depth.” And the garden itself is now much healthier.

RINGING IN THE RED: Coral bells are a colorful staple of Southern California gardens.

Bart O’Brien, co-author of “California Native Plants for the Garden” (Cachuma Press; Dec. 2005), combines flora from several Mediterranean climates in his Upland garden. But he cautions that plants from elsewhere don’t tolerate drought as well as natives. “California’s climate is the most extreme,” he says. “We have the longest dry periods.” For late summer/early fall blooms, O’Brien, of Claremont’s Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, recommends California fuchsias. But don’t expect most of these plants to be at their best at the end of summer. They’re accustomed to slowing growth or becoming dormant when it’s so hot and dry. Still, native/Mediterranean gardens aren’t just about flowers. Varied shades — especially grey-greens — and textures of foliage are part of their appeal. “On the East Coast, when it stops raining, they let their lawns go brown,” says Elisa. “They don’t water. We have to get used to that — that things do have a splendid season. You can’t control what happens in nature, and you live with it.” Besides, many people retreat indoors in August. “In the heat of the summer, it’s not nice to be in my front yard,” O’Brien says. “Right now is more when I want to be in the yard doing things. And now is when there’s a lot of color.” AM

ON A RECENT MORNING, LOUISE GONZALEZ, THE THEODORE PAYNE Foundation’s nursery manager, hikes up a hill on the foundation’s Sun Valley property. She stoops over a member of the mint family called Trichostema lanatum, known as woolly blue curls — “woolly” for the velvety purple, leaflike bracts around its slender blue flowers. The plant’s aroma is sensational. “To me it smells like grape bubble gum,” says Gonzalez. “Then you get this pine-cone-resiny smell.” Nearby, each stem of a lilac verbena bush (Verbena lilacina), native to Baja California, Mexico, offers up a miniature bouquet of lavender flowers. “It’s very reliable, blooms most of the year,” Gonzalez says. “Butterflies love it.” In the nursery below her, brilliant yellow flowers with fuzzy centers burst from the branches of a large shrub. Called Island Bush Poppy (Dendromecon harfordii), the plant is popular because it blooms year round. To Gonzalez, its fragrance resembles honeydew melon. She also favors the native delphinium, an easy-to-grow member of the sunflower family (Encelia Californica), and purple sage (Salvia leucophylla). “The seeds are high in protein,” she says, “so there’s a lot of different bird species that eat them.” AM 40 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

Photo of Louisa Gonzalez with a lilac verbena bush by Ilsa Setzoil

Only five regions on earth have a Mediterranean climate — most of California, the Mediterranean itself, South Africa’s Cape area, parts of southern Australia and a slice of central Chile — and all produce plants with similar characteristics, including small, thick, leathery leaves with a waxy or hairy coat, which help them retain moisture. Because these plants need similar conditions, they make good companions in the garden. Some well-known Mediterranean examples are lavender, rosemary, creeping thyme and rockrose. Glendale landscape architect Guillaume Lemoine of Picture This Land also recommends these plants: olive tree, tree mallow (Lavatera arborea), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) and Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa). “One of my favorites is Santolina,” he says. “It has little red balls at the end of long stems. I like to cut and dry them.” Dappling your native garden with Mediterranean-climate plants from various regions can extend bloom time and boost the number of larger flowers. Plants from the Southern Hemisphere retain their blooming cycle when moved north, according to horticulturist Singer. “They think it’s summer when it’s really winter,” she says, “so it broadens our palette; we can get 12 months of color.” One example is Grevillea rosmarinifolia, a rosemary-like Australian shrub that, in Southern California, blooms in late autumn. South African and Mediterranean bulbs such as daffodils, freesias, gladiolus and Amaryllis belladonna are also good choices. They naturalize well in Southern California gardens, because they can tolerate our dry spells. Singer also recommends South African harlequin flower (Sparaxis), crocus and species tulips (the wild ones from the Mediterranean, not the more common Dutch varieties that struggle here).


• Study up over the summer. May is a great month to visit Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont to see native plants in a garden setting. Also, study your yard, especially for hot spots. “You really need to know the exposures of your garden and your soil type,” says Theodore Payne’s Louise Gonzalez. “Do you have well-draining sandy loam? Or clay soil that drains slowly?” • Read “California Native Plants for the Garden” by Bart O’Brien, Carol Bornstein and David Fross (Cachuma Date & time in: _____________________ Press; Dec. 2005). For plants from the other regions, try Production time out: _________________ “Garden Plants for Mediterranean Climates” by Graham Payne (Crowood Press; Dec. 2002). • Take a class at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley; visit theodorepayne.org. Or pick up tips from laspilitas.com • Buy your native plants in the fall. Good places to stock up are Burkard’s Nurseries in Pasadena, the Payne Foundation and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. For a cohesive look, resist the temptation to buy one of each plant, advises Glendale landscape architect Guillaume LeMoine. “You can do a very good garden with five to seven plants,” he says. • Start your plants in late fall. Generally, don’t amend your soil unless it is contaminated, and forget the fertilizer. You shouldn’t need pesticides, but you’ll want a lot of mulch. • Give young plants extra water. Many are droughttolerant but need more moisture in the first few years to get established. “In general, winter is when they want water and can use it — not in summer,” says author Bart O’Brien. Some will stay greener with a deep soak once a month, but others don’t want any summer water once they’re established. • Toss in some wildflowers. California poppy (right) is one of the easiest to grow and looks especially gorgeous against a field of blue lupines. • Experiment with different irrigation systems. Gonzalez says sprinklers or drip work equally well. Some gardeners recommend smaller micro-sprinklers. O’Brien waters by hand. • Let some plants go to seed before you prune them. Birds will flock to your yard. • Get your garden certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The federation will send you a yard sign that informs passersby about the water, food and shelter your garden provides. AM

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ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 41


ART

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Sam Francis’ “Free Floating Clouds,” 1980, acrylic on canvas, in the new Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

42 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

Photo: Tim Street-Porter

AMERICAN ART HAS ACHIEVED DESTINATION STATUS AT THE HUNTINGTON.

The American collection came late to the Huntington — in 1979, more than 50 years after the lavish San Marino estate of railroad magnate Henry and Arabella Huntington first opened to visitors — with the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation’s donation of 50 American paintings, which included works by John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. The gift joined a handful of 18th-century portraits in the founders’ personal collection and spurred the museum board to flesh out its American art holdings. Indeed, the recent proliferation of American works meshes well with the spirit of their bequest, museum officials say. “The Huntington’s commitment to the collection and interpretation of American art is deep-rooted, dating back to Henry Huntington himself, whose American art acquisitions enhanced his collection of American literary manuscripts,” says Steven S. Koblik, museum president. The American collection made its debut in 1984 in the neoclassical Virginia Steele Scott Gallery and, with new acquisitions, soon outgrew its confines. But the Huntington had more pressing concerns — the restoration of the original Italianate mansion, which housed the Huntington’s celebrated European collections: a $20 million venture that also expanded gallery space for the work. That process involved building a new space that would do double duty — housing European painting and sculpture during the two-year renovation, completed a year ago, and offering fresh gallery space for the American collection, which has grown to about 9,400 objects. The Huntington unveiled the new Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery, designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners, in 2005. In May 2008, the modern classical space was emptied of highlights of the European collection. It was then joined with the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery as part of a $1.6 million redesign and reinstallation of the American art galleries. “What is truly exciting,” says Koblik, “is that [this month’s opening] represents a circle that began when I arrived in 2001 with the identified need to renovate the Huntington Art Gallery, continued with the development of a solution for temporarily storing the European works by building the Erburu Gallery in 2005 and is fully realized now, in 2009, with the incorporation of the Erburu Gallery into this spectacular new setting for the Huntington’s growing American art collection.” Perhaps most surprising for many visitors will be the final gallery, devoted to mid-20th-century abstraction. “A more recent goal of the collection has been to acquire works of art that reflect other artistic ambitions, such as the development of abstraction in the 20th century,” says John Murdoch, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of Art Collections. “After all,” notes Jessica Todd Smith, Virginia Steele Scott Curator of American Art, “how can you tell the story of 20th-century art without abstraction?” —CONTINUED ON PAGE 44 ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 43


ART

WHEN THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, ART COLLECTIONS AND BOTANICAL GARDENS REOPENS ITS NEWLY EXPANDED VIRGINIA STEELE SCOTT

AMERICAN ART ON THE UPSWING

GALLERIES ON MAY 30, AMERICAN ART THERE WILL FINALLY ASSUME A STATUS COMMENSURATE WITH ITS ACCLAIMED EUROPEAN COLLECTIONS. WITH MORE THAN TWICE THE SPACE IT WAS PREVIOUSLY ACCORDED, THE STORY OF AMERICAN ART NOW UNFOLDS IN 15 SKYLIT GALLERIES, HERALDED BY AN ELEGANT, SOARING GLASS ENTRANCE NEARLY 19 FEET HIGH. AS VISITORS PROCEED THROUGH 16,379 SQUARE FEET OF GALLERY SPACE, THEY WILL ENCOUNTER DECORATIVE ARTS MINGLED WITH PAINTING AND SCULPTURE DATING FROM THE COLONIAL

WITH NEWLY EXPANDED GALLERIES, AMERICAN ART ACHIEVES DESTINATION STATUS AT THE HUNTINGTON.

ERA THROUGH 1980, NOTABLY INCLUDING OUTSTANDING NEW ACQUISITIONS BY HARRIET HOSMER AND SAM FRANCIS. STEPCHILD NO MORE,

BY KATIE KLAPPER

Sam Francis’ “Free Floating Clouds,” 1980, acrylic on canvas, in the new Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

42 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

Photo: Tim Street-Porter

AMERICAN ART HAS ACHIEVED DESTINATION STATUS AT THE HUNTINGTON.

The American collection came late to the Huntington — in 1979, more than 50 years after the lavish San Marino estate of railroad magnate Henry and Arabella Huntington first opened to visitors — with the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation’s donation of 50 American paintings, which included works by John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. The gift joined a handful of 18th-century portraits in the founders’ personal collection and spurred the museum board to flesh out its American art holdings. Indeed, the recent proliferation of American works meshes well with the spirit of their bequest, museum officials say. “The Huntington’s commitment to the collection and interpretation of American art is deep-rooted, dating back to Henry Huntington himself, whose American art acquisitions enhanced his collection of American literary manuscripts,” says Steven S. Koblik, museum president. The American collection made its debut in 1984 in the neoclassical Virginia Steele Scott Gallery and, with new acquisitions, soon outgrew its confines. But the Huntington had more pressing concerns — the restoration of the original Italianate mansion, which housed the Huntington’s celebrated European collections: a $20 million venture that also expanded gallery space for the work. That process involved building a new space that would do double duty — housing European painting and sculpture during the two-year renovation, completed a year ago, and offering fresh gallery space for the American collection, which has grown to about 9,400 objects. The Huntington unveiled the new Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery, designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners, in 2005. In May 2008, the modern classical space was emptied of highlights of the European collection. It was then joined with the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery as part of a $1.6 million redesign and reinstallation of the American art galleries. “What is truly exciting,” says Koblik, “is that [this month’s opening] represents a circle that began when I arrived in 2001 with the identified need to renovate the Huntington Art Gallery, continued with the development of a solution for temporarily storing the European works by building the Erburu Gallery in 2005 and is fully realized now, in 2009, with the incorporation of the Erburu Gallery into this spectacular new setting for the Huntington’s growing American art collection.” Perhaps most surprising for many visitors will be the final gallery, devoted to mid-20th-century abstraction. “A more recent goal of the collection has been to acquire works of art that reflect other artistic ambitions, such as the development of abstraction in the 20th century,” says John Murdoch, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of Art Collections. “After all,” notes Jessica Todd Smith, Virginia Steele Scott Curator of American Art, “how can you tell the story of 20th-century art without abstraction?” —CONTINUED ON PAGE 44 ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 43


ART

Left: Harriet Goodhue Hosmer, “Zenobia in Chains,” 1859, marble

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43

While the Huntington’s new direction covers ground claimed by the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, officials are careful to note that the Huntington does not consider itself to be in competition. “We don’t see ourselves going head to head with MOCA and LACMA,” Smith says. “The collections are complementary. Each is so distinctive. Stories about American art emerge differently in different contexts.” Complementing cases of mid-20th-century jewelry and ceramics are furniture by woodwork master Sam Maloof, collages by Joseph Cornell and paintings by Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Karl Benjamin and Ed Ruscha. The Huntington’s American collection stopped with World War II as recently as seven years ago, when its newest work was a set of 1945 drawings by Robert Motherwell. But today, the room is dominated by a monumental masterwork by California abstract expressionist Sam Francis (1923–1994). “Free Floating Clouds” (1980) measures more than 10 feet tall and 21 feet wide and is the Sam Francis Foundation’s first gift since the artist’s death. When the Huntington initially approached the foundation, trustees were puzzled by the museum’s request for a gift. “They asked us, ‘Why are you here?’” Smith recalls. But, as foundation president Patrick Whaley explains, the Huntington offered excellent exposure for a large, hard-to-place painting. “The construction of the Erburu Gallery shows their commitment to American art,” he says. “They mocked up the gallery space, showed us exactly where it would hang. We want these works on permanent display. That was very important.” Visitors to the Huntington’s American art collection used to enter through a modest side door; now they can opt for the grand entrance facing the west campus quadrangle, which includes the Boone Gallery (used for temporary exhibitions) and the conservatory. Fronted by glass, the American art galleries are more integrated into the site than the venue’s other exhibition spaces. “The galleries sit beautifully in the Huntington landscape,” Murdoch says, “inviting views of the mountains and gardens from the glass loggia and helping to develop a sense of interplay between the works of art inside and the gardens outside.” Garden views are framed by charming Art Deco sculptures in the loggia, created by Paul Manship for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Directly ahead, the Gilded Age is represented by beguiling portraits by Cassatt, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Eakins, alongside Tiffany silver and a glowing stained-glass window 44 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

by George Washington Maher. To the left, an enfilade of rooms harkens back through the 19th century and connects the Erburu wing to the Scott Gallery, which houses early 19th-century and colonial art. To the right stands a monumental marble sculpture, “Zenobia in Chains” (1859), a recent acquisition made possible by the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation and a coup for the collection. Believed lost until a few years ago, this important work by Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908) will be on view for the first time in nearly a century. Visitors may choose to peruse the collection chronologically, thematically or by whim. Decorative artworks sit alongside paintings and sculptures of their eras, providing historical context and a more thorough understanding of the aesthetics of time and place. Galleries are organized around various didactic themes: One colonial gallery explores sewing and handicrafts; another, painting and furniture from New York. The actual engraved gilt snuffbox in an early-19th-century portrait by Thomas Sully is displayed next to the painting, and a bizarre coral teething whistle sits alongside a portrait where a similar object is portrayed. Throughout the galleries, curators were careful to include Western work, a frequent omission when narrating the development of American art. Highlights include an entire 1905 dining room by local landmark architects Greene & Greene in the Dorothy Collins Brown Wing. Nearby, an entire room dedicated to the Arts and Crafts movement showcases a dining set by Frank Lloyd Wright in an octagonal room with a dropped, windowed ceiling and decorative accents that evoke the era. Flanking the gallery are rooms filled with 20th-century art. The penultimate space is dedicated to modernism and regionalism, with works by Hopper, Reginald Marsh, John Sloan and Charles Sheeler. Free audio guides of the collection are available for both adults and children. “As a collections-based research and educational institution, we are committed to providing information on everything,” says Smith. From modest beginnings, with Henry Huntington’s presidential portraits and a handful of Grand Manner paintings by Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, American art acquisitions have mushroomed to include thousands of paintings, sculpture, decorative art, drawings, prints and photographs. Thanks to longtime Huntington supporters Heather and Paul Haaga, Susan and Stephen Chandler and noted collector Steve Martin, the newly expanded galleries allow the museum to make all the key pieces of this increasingly important collection accessible to the public. “We have such a luxury of space,” says Smith. “I’m in heaven!” AM

Photos courtesy of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (image at right, Marvin Rand)

Right: Greene & Greene dining table, two host chairs, two side chairs, two sideboards and chandelier from the Laurabelle A. Robinson House, 1905–06.


OBJECTS OF DESIRE

A Nosegay of Ideas for the Well-Tended Garden BY M. JOHN SEELEY

Religious souls may want to follow the example of the Creator, who designed the first garden, by planting their own plot, although perhaps they may want to skip the snake this time. Even Voltaire, a notorious atheist, declared that horticulture should be the mission of everyman. “We must cultivate our own garden,” he wrote. “When man was put in the Garden of Eden, he was put there so that he should work.” In the 21st century, we wear our work ethic a little more lightly, of course, so we’ve located some products to maximize enjoyment while minimizing labor — and incidentally, cutting down on water and power use, too.

DRIER DIVIDERS

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

Despite appearances, Southern California

In the heat of summer, sometimes evening is the best time to enjoy your garden.

is really a semi-desert climate. So for a

Even after the sun has put in a full day, you can keep it working for you with

border or divider, don’t strain the terrain

solar-powered garden lighting by Malibu Lights. Subtle accent lights or high-

with thirsty grasses; try a cactus like

intensity floodlights use newly designed white LEDs. Best of all, they need no

Sanseverria cylindrica from Angola or

wiring, so they’re easy to install and move to highlight walkways or favorite

prickly pear (Opuntia sulphurea, pictured)

flowerbeds. They can stand out (in turtles or frogs, $14.99), fit in (two-light rock,

from Argentina (both about $40). And

$39.97) or just look like what they are — lamps.

what better container for spiky plants than

Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), 3425

these spiky pots in five bright colors

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POT-POURRI IN PRINT Show little ones — and yourself — that out of mud and mulch, magic can emerge. The late local garden maven and author Olive Percival devised 15 fanciful gardens, including “The Garden of Aladdin,” an enchanted, sunken orchard fragrant with kumquat, persimmon and orange trees; “The Fairy Ring,” a blueplant fairyland; and “The Sliced Cake,” a round, pink-and-white garden divided into wedges — the perfect setting for afternoon tea. Percival’s charming illustrations of her personal Edens and instructions for recreating them were brought together in “The Children’s Garden Book” ($24.95) by the Huntington Library, which published the work in 2005. The Huntington Bookstore & More, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, (626) 405-2142, huntington.org

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 46 ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 45


OBJECTS OF DESIRE

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45

TOWERING TOMATOES You say tomato tower, I say tomato

WINGING IT

tepee — let’s call the whole nine-foot

A garden without birds is like

willow pyramid ($145), which has room

Disneyland without children. Bring

for three plants on each side (or nine in

music to your garden — and a helping

all), a support structure for future salads

wing for your plants’ fertility — with the

and sauces. For the former, a good

Thistle Sack Finch Feeder by Perky-Pet.

choice of pole tomato is Aunt Ruby’s

This fine-mesh “sock” ($3.99) holds

German Green; certified organic seeds

three pounds of thistle seed ($12.95)

from Botanical Interests for this sweet

and feeds up to 10 birds at a time.

and spicy climber are just $1.89.

San Marino Nursery, 2143 Huntington

Burkard Nurseries, 690 N. Orange

Dr., South Pasadena, (626) 799-9123

Grove Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 796-4355

GARDEN LIKE A SAMURAI That longtime guardian of local lawns, the

SINGING THE LAVENDER BLUES

Japanese gardener, has finally, sad to say, hung

Nothing new under the sun? Au contraire.

so you’ll have to do your best to fill in. The

An old stock has taken new form in cean-

Japanese Tool Collection, carbon-steel utensils

othus tuxedo, a drought-tolerant variant of

crafted with techniques passed down from

the California lilac. Notable for its dark

17th-century Japanese sword-makers, can get

foliage, it has an open, well-branched habit

you started with a planting hoe ($19), right- or

and will grow up to eight feet in height and

left-hand weeders ($19), bonsai scissors ($29)

breadth. It blooms lavender blue sporadical-

and a serrated hori hori knife to cut through

ly in warm months, flowering in full splendor

roots and branches (at right, $29). Or get the

in late summer or fall (one-gallon pot, $19).

complete Bonsai tool set ($69).

Burkard Nurseries, 690 N. Orange Grove

Smith & Hawken, 519 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena,

Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 796-4355

(626) 584-0644, smithandhawken.com

up his hoe. His kids are off at graduate school,

BARTENDER’S GARDEN Gardens are usually associated with water, but people with more grown-up tastes might want a mojito garden. Mexican mint purchases have skyrocketed this year at the happy hour price of $2.50 for a four-inch or Bearss, $32 in a five-gallon pot) and garnish with ice plant. Persson’s also features several agave varietals but can’t give advice on making your own tequila. Persson’s Nursery, 3115 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 792-6073

46 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO

PHOTO: Tau’olunga (Mexican mint)

pot. Plant it beside your lime tree (Mexican


LIST COMPILED BY JOHN SOLLENBERGER

A HIGHLY SELECTIVE PREVIEW OF UPCOMING EVENTS

LEARN AND GROW AT THE L.A. GARDEN SHOW May 1 through 3 — Wander among decorative landscapes that incorporate fruits, vegetables and herbs at the L.A. Garden Show at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia. The event, “A Festival of Flavors,” spotlights edible gardens and includes food, entertainment and gardening activities for kids. Pop in for a class on improving your soil, growing tomatoes organically, selecting and caring for fruit trees or choosing ornamental plants to grow with and around your edibles. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with 8 a.m. admission for Arboretum members. Tickets for adults cost $7; for seniors 62 and older and students with ID, $5; and for children ages 5 through 12, $2.50. For younger children and Arboretum members, admission is free. The L.A. County Arboretum is located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Call (626) 821 3243 or visit lagardenshow.com.

SPANISH HORSE FESTIVAL BENEFITS CANCER RESEARCH May 2 — The 2009 Fiesta of the Spanish Horse, an equestrian extravaganza to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer, starts at 6 p.m. with a display of elegant high-stepping breeds including Andalusian, Peruvian Paso and Paso Fino. The festivities at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank will also include Latin and mariachi music, flamenco dancing, food and a raffle of a golf cart autographed by Miley Cyrus. Gates open at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adult general admission, $50 for a reserved box seat, $15 for seniors 65 and older and children ages 4 through 12 and $50 for a family package. Admission is free for children 3 and younger. The Los Angeles Equestrian Center is located at 480 Riverside Dr., Burbank. Call (818) 8427444 or visit fiestaspanishhorse.com.

PHOTO: La Cañada home by Paul Chamberlain

MANSIONS & MUSIC, THE CUBAN WAY

DISTINCTIVE LA CAÑADA HOMES OPEN THEIR DOORS

THE

May 8 — The doors to four distinct and distinctive La Cañada Flintridge homes open to the public as part of the 23rd annual 7/8 Spring Home Tour, benefiting the La Cañada High School 7/8 PTA. The tour — at either 10 a.m to 2 p.m. or 4 to 8 p.m. — includes a classic 1941 hacienda, a midcentury modern home with a theater and kidney-shaped pool, a 1922 Spanish Colonial Revival estate designed by Rose Bowl architect Myron Hunt and an Italianate villa built in 2002. Shopping and a luncheon catered by Porta Via Italian Foods will be located at a shingle-style residence featured in Traditional Home magazine. Advance tour tickets cost $40, $45 on tour day at Descanso Gardens. Lunch tickets (mid-day session only) cost $15. Call (818) 790-0419 or visit lchs78.org/hometour.html.

May 3 — Take a musical trip to the Caribbean as the Pasadena Conservatory of Music presents “The Cuban Way”— the season finale of its “Mansions & Music” concert series. The concert of Cuban music, which merges the styles of Africa and Spain, features Bruno Coon and his quintet, Son Cinco, performing the “son” style of popular dance music on which modern salsa is based. The concert starts at 4 p.m. at a private home in San Marino, and an open bar reception follows. Tickets cost $60. Call (626) 683-3355 for reservations. Directions and a map to the concert are available upon ticket purchase.

of the CBS series “Touched by an Angel.” The breakfast brings together community members to seek God’s guidance for Pasadena. Tickets can be bought for $25 until May 1 by writing to Working Faith, 236 W. Mountain St., Ste. 119, Pasadena, CA 91103. The Pasadena Hilton is located at 168 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 486-0691 or email jmillikan@workingfaith.com.

CELEBRATE “EL CINCO” AT THE AUTRY

GOING PLATINUM IN PASADENA

May 3 — Visitors can celebrate the Cinco de Mayo holiday two days early at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., “Viva el Cinco” recalls the Mexican Battle of Puebla in a day of mariachi music, ballet folklorico, charros, family activities, exhibition tours and more. Local artist Lalo Garcia will display authentic folk art and costumes created in Puebla and lead workshops on folk art techniques. “Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas” will take the stage; also scheduled are a puppet-making workshop and a guided tour of the “Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas” exhibition. The event is free with museum admission ($9 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, $3 for children ages 3 through 12). The Autry National Center is located at 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park. Call (323) 667-2000 or visit autrynationalcenter.org.

May 7 — The Pasadena YMCA holds its annual “Pasadena Platinum” fundraising gala, featuring fare from such area restaurants as Barcelona, Barn Burner, Boston Culinary Group, the Dining Room at the Langham Hotel, Dona Rosa, El Cholo, Green Street Restaurant, Magnolia Lounge, Mi Piace, Camille’s Sidewalk Café, Ruth Chris, Twin Palms and Villa Sorriso. L.A. Music Academy students will perform jazz, R&B and classical music. Tickets cost $45 each or $400 for a “platinum package” of 10. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Pasadena Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom. The Pasadena Convention Center is located at 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Call (626) 4326839 or email veronicajuarez@ymcala.org.

MAYOR’S PRAYER BREAKFAST SEEKS DIVINE GUIDANCE FOR PASADENA May 7 — The 36th annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, Pasadena’s entry in the National Day of Prayer, is scheduled for 7 to 9 a.m. at the Pasadena Hilton. The event’s theme is “Touching Lives, Building Community” and keynote speaker is Martha Williamson, executive producer

WESTFIELD KICKS OFF PLEIN-AIR MALL WITH MUSIC, FASHION May 7 through 10 — The Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Center launches its Promenade open-air corridor with 30 new stores amid a weekend of celebrations. The event kicks off Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. with an opening ceremony and performance by the California —CONTINUED ON PAGE 49 ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 47


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THE

LIST

A HIGHLY SELECTIVE PREVIEW OF UPCOMING EVENTS

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47

Philharmonic. Friday and Saturday bring live fashion shows, appearances by the Radio Disney Street Team, a $5,000 giveaway and more. On Sunday, moms receive free gifts. Westfield Santa Anita is located at 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Call (626) 445-6255 or visit westfield.com/santaanita.

VAMPIRE ON TRIAL AT BOSTON COURT May 9 — The Theatre @ Boston Court morphs into a courtroom as “Courting Vampires” opens and runs through June 7. The allegorical play by Laura Schellhardt moves from graveyard to courtroom as the headstrong young Nina is stricken with a fatal blood disease. To avenge her death, Nina’s protective older sister, Rill, vows revenge on the vampire who infected her and puts the vampire on trial for his life. “Courting Vampires” is directed by Jessica Kubzansky, Boston Court’s co-artistic director. Previews run from April 30 through May 8. Performances start at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. On May 17, Boston Court offers an “economic stimulus” matinee with $5 seats, cash or check only. Boston Court Performing Arts Center is located at 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 683-6883 or visit bostoncourt.com.

SUZY WELCH ON DECISION-MAKING STRATEGIES May 9 — Suzy Welch, author, magazine columnist and wife of former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, kicks off the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley Women of Excellence Speaker Series with a 2 p.m. talk about her new book, “10-10-10” (Scribner), at Pasadena’s All Saints Church. Welch, who writes for O: the Oprah Magazine and co-authors a column with her husband for BusinessWeek, will discuss personal decision-making strategies and ways to balance life and work. Jack Welch will introduce her and participate in a Q&A session. Refreshments will be served. Tickets cost $40. All Saints Church is located at 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 296-8433 or visit ywca.org/pasadena/suzywelch.

MOTA DAY CELEBRATES LOCAL MUSEUMS

May 17 — Museums of the Arroyo Day salutes six museums located along the Arroyo Seco, from Pasadena to nearby northeastern Los Angeles. The daylong event marks the event’s 20th anniversary with various exhibitions, many with 1920s themes. Locations include the Heritage Square Museum, the Gamble House, the Los Angeles Police Historical Museum, the Lummis Home and Garden, the Pasadena Museum of History and the Southwest Museum. Pasadena’s Gamble House hosts a display of 1920s automobiles. At the living history museum Heritage Square, the “Lost to Progress” exhibit explores the balance between preservation and progress. At the Pasadena Museum of History, “Family Stories: Sharing a Community’s Legacy” explores the lives of six Pasadena families of the 1920s. 1920s-era cars will be stationed around the museum as teen volunteers in newsboy caps tote bags with stories from the roaring decade. MOTA day runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All locations offer parking, and shuttles between them will be available. Call (213) 740-TOUR or visit museumsofthearroyo.com.

A “SUITE” PERFORMANCE BY LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS May 10 and 16 — The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus closes its 23rd season with a reprise of composer Paul Gibson’s whimsical “Suite: Alice Through a Looking-Glass” at 7 p.m. Sunday and 4 p.m. Saturday at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. The piece, based on Lewis Carroll’s classic poetry, was commissioned by LACC for its 15th anniversary and featured on its subsequent tour of Great Britain. Tickets cost $24, $36 and $42; students receive a halfprice discount. Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 7934231 or visit lachildrenschorus.org.

PHOTO: Suzy Welch by Deborah Feingold

HEARST CASTLE GARDENS REVEALED May 16 — Historian Victoria Kastner speaks on “The Gardens of Hearst Castle” at 1 p.m. at the Ahmanson Auditorium of Art Center College of Design in the season’s final Sydney D. Gamble Lecture, sponsored by Friends of the Gamble House. Afterward, guests can tour the grounds of a 1919 Mediterranean Revival estate along the Arroyo Seco, designed by Reginald Johnson. During the tour, landscape architect Heather Lenkin will discuss design details and plants, including a walled orchard, rose garden, Italian spring garden, a desert “inferno” region and a secret garden. Refreshments will be served. Tickets cost $25; $15 for Friends of the Gamble House members and students. Art Center College of Design is located at 1700 Lida St., Pasadena. Call (626) 793-3334, ext. 52, or visit gamblehouse.org.

WINE TASTING SPOTLIGHTS SPAIN May 17 — The Los Altos Auxiliary of Hathaway-Sycamores presents “Tasting the Wines of Spain” at a private home in La Cañada Flintridge starting at 4:30 p.m. to benefit HathawaySycamores Child and Family Services. The tasting features an array of whites, reds and sparkling cavas, accompanied by fresh fruit and cheese. Tickets cost $75. Reservations are required. Email Sue Slater at slate1324@sbcglobal.net or Susan Peterman at hphorse@aol.com or call (213) 819-0634.

Photo of debutante Vivian Brandenberg, Pasadena Museum of History

SCHEER CRITIQUES U.S. DEFENSE POLICY IN GLENDALE May 21 — The Glendale Public Library hosts veteran journalist Robert Scheer at 7 p.m., discussing his book, “The Pornography of Power” (Twelve; June 2008), in which he casts a critical eye on the U.S. military budget and defense policy. Scheer is a clinical professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and a former national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. The Glendale Public Library is located at 222 E. Harvard St., Glendale. Call (818) 548-2042 or visit ci.glendale.ca.us.

OVERNIGHT RALLY SUPPORTS CANCER RESEARCH, HONORS VICTIMS May 30 and 31 — The American Cancer Society invites people whose lives have been touched by cancer to the 24-hour Relay for Life at the Pasadena City College Stadium. Individuals and teams at the overnight community celebration camp out, barbecue, dance and circle the track, relay-style, to raise funds to battle the disease. The opening ceremony starts at 9 a.m. Saturday with a survivors’ lap. A ceremony honoring victims, in which hundreds of luminaria are placed around the track, starts at 9 p.m. The closing ceremony is at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Pasadena City College is located at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 372-9456 or visit relayforlife.org/pasadenaca. AM ARROYO ~ MAY 2009 ~ 49


KITCHEN CONFESSIONS

Fondues and Fon-don’ts GIVE CHEESY NOSTALGIA A STARRING ROLE AT YOUR NEXT DINNER PARTY BY LESLIE BILDERBACK | PHOTOS BY TERI LYN FISHER

I love everything retro. From kitschy knickknacks and vintage fashions to old movies and classic music — you name it, I’ve got it. This love, of course, extends into the kitchen. Enter fondue. There are few foods as quintessentially groovy as fondue. Eating from a communal pot is literally hippy-dippy. It is fun on a stick. What meal wouldn’t be enhanced with long, pointy forks and fire? And who could resist all that cheesy gold delicious-

work, and not a sack lunch? This is the kind of story that was clearly made up as a joke and spread by gullible foodies. Cooking meat in a pot of boiling oil on the table is not the smartest idea I have

ness, swirling around and dripping from chunks of bread? (Although, an entire meal

ever heard. A similar — and marginally safer — method originated in China. All

slathered in dairy probably doesn’t sound that great to the lactose-intolerant.)

throughout Asia you can find variations of “steamboat” or “steam bowl” meals, in

Luckily for me, fondue is back. Every good cookware store carries fondue pots,

which a broth is set in the center of the table and used to cook a variety of meats and

and most supermarkets carry an assortment of fine Swiss cheeses with which to cre-

vegetables. Dishes known as “hot pots” — or huo guo (fire-pot) in Chinese — were

ate a classic fondue. There is even a national chain of fondue restaurants (although I

introduced to Japan during the Manchu dynasty and evolved into Japanese nabe-

found their lack of dirndl skirts and lederhosen disappointing). Cheese fondue is Swiss, and like all the world’s great dishes, it began as a

mono. (Nabe is “cooking pot” and mono is “things” or “stuff.” Gotta love the Japanese knack for naming things. I am going to take my cue from them and call my

way to make use of leftovers. Dried-out cheese and stale bread, it turns out, are

next culinary creation “fork bits,” or “plate chunks.” ) Nabemono dishes include

surprisingly delectable when heated and mixed with wine. (Come to think of it,

sukiyaki (which means “plow broiled,” presumably named by some peasant who had

isn’t that true for most foods?)

nothing else to cook his meat on) and shabu–shabu (named for the sound the meat

Fondue aficionados know that each Swiss region, or canton, has its own style of fondue that uses ingredients unique to the area. But if you order Swiss fondue, you will get, in all likelihood, the fondue from Neuchâtel, made with two parts

makes when it is “swished-swished” around in the pot). Thai sukiyaki and Korean jjigae are similar dishes, both served with notably spicier dipping sauces. Chocolate fondue is also not Swiss. Despite the fact that the Swiss make fine

Gruyère, one part Emmentaler, white wine, Kirsch, nutmeg and a suggestion of

chocolate, they did not come up with the idea of dipping desert in a bowl of sauce.

garlic. Other Swiss fondues may mix their Gruyère with Appenzeller or Vacherin;

Created at New York City’s Chalet Swiss Restaurant in the 1960s, chocolate fondue

they may use sweet roasted garlic, wild mushrooms or cider instead of wine, but

is typically American. Who else but an American would say, “This strawberry is good,

that is the extent of the variations. If you are served anything else, I suggest you

but what it really needs is a cauldron of hot fudge”? I am surprised we do not see

demand to see the chef’s fondue credentials.

more milk fondue, into which Oreo cookies are dipped. Or how about ketchup

Cheddar cheese, for example, is not a proper fondue cheese. If you use cheddar

fondue for dunking fried potatoes? This is why I do not own my own restaurant. AM

cheese, I suggest you replace the French bread with tortilla chips and call it nachos. I consider meat fondue a stretch, although its popularity is also credited to

Bilderback is a certified master chef and baker, a former executive chef of Pasadena’s

the Swiss. Fondue Bourguignon, as it is known, is named for the Burgundy region

California School of Culinary Arts and the author of “The Everything Family Nutrition

of France; one assumes that’s because it was created by a Burgundian. Stories

Book” (Adams Media), which hits bookstores this month. She has also written six vol-

abound, however, about grape pickers in Burgundy who are said to have cooked

umes in Alpha Publishing’s “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to...” series—”Sensational

small pieces of meat in pots of boiling oil in the fields during the grape harvest,

Salads” (March 2009), “...Snack Cakes” (June 2008), “...Good Food from the Good

when there was no time to go inside for a proper lunch. I do not believe this story,

Book” (March 2008), “...Spices and Herbs” (Dec. 2007), “...Comfort Food” ( Sept.

because I know for a fact that the French know how to make sandwiches. Am I to

2007) and “...Success as a Chef” (Feb. 2007). A South Pasadena resident, Bilderback

believe that a French peasant would rather carry a pot, oil, meat and firewood to

teaches her techniques online at culinarymasterclass.com.

50 ~ MAY 2009 ~ ARROYO


NEUCHÂTEL FONDUE

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