Arlington Garden, Pasadena, CA
Today's update features a little bit of "Hidden L.A." Or perhaps more specifically, "Hidden Pasadena." Tucked away in a residential neighborhood of a city best known for the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl, a little bit west of the must larger, better known, and busier Huntington Library, is a public garden open to any visitor during the daytime hours of every day of the year. The Arlington Garden, located appropriately enough on Arlington Drive, is a Mediterranean style collection of plantlife that takes advantage of Southern California's mild climate to feature a nice variety of flora.
This little, three acre site could be easy to miss by those not looking for it. Its deep lot has a relatively narrow frontage to the street, and somewhat wild look of the entrance could be mistaken for just a more naturalistic front yard of someone's more substantial property. But those who enter find themselves somewhat transplanted to a garden that might belong to a cozy European villa. Succulents, fruits, shrubs, flowers, and even a labyrinth await guests who pass through its 35 "rooms." Many of the plants demonstrate sustainable water management. There are placards with QR codes to provide further information to any guests seeking to learn a little bit more about the plant species abound.
The garden was originally founded in 2005 by Betty and Charles McKenney, longtime community residents, and designed by Mayita Dinos. All three were inspired by the Mediterranean style of gardens. In addition to the variety of horticulture, the garden was meant to showcase how beautiful a water-conserving and well-managed garden could be.
The grounds feature winding paths, unfolding plazas, seating niches, and sculptural surprises. It's a great setting for photographers who might be interested in photographing the various types of plants. Photo shoots are welcome too, but they do require a permit and nominal fee. Amateur photography for non-commercial use is not restricted, however.
Although the property is relatively small, a leisure stroll and enjoyment of the various parts of the garden, plus some rest and relaxation of the serene ambiance could actually stretch a visit enough to last an hour or more. Of course, a quick jaunt through can also occupy a mere five or ten minutes. The experience is entirely to the guest. But there is definitely a nice assortment of outdoor spaces in this gem of a public garden--something that's not entirely common through Southern California.
I had no idea this garden existed prior to last Saturday, but the suggestion of a friend provided this delightful surprise. The Arlington Garden is certainly far from a hyped, must-see attraction. But it is a unique and lovely example of man-made nature that is refreshing and invigorating. These photos were taken on an overcast day, mostly devoid of warm sunshine that could make the scenes pop even more. But even here, you can see the beauty in this green conservatory. If you're around the area and looking for a moment of respite in what could be an otherwise busy day, I recommend stopping for a visit!
ARLINGTON PARK AT A GLANCE
- Name: Arlington Garden
- Address: 275 Arlington Dr, Pasadena, CA 91105
- Web Site: http://www.arlingtongardenpasadena.com/
- Admission: FREE
- Hours: sunrise - sunset daily
- Metro Stop(s): Fillmore Station (serves Metro Gold Line)
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.