Commonwealth Nursery Demonstration Garden
As a key step in realizing the ecological and educational goals of the Griffith Park Urban Environmental Center at the site of the historic Commonwealth Nursery, the landscape surrounding the Nursery House affords a much-needed opportunity to demonstrate sustainable landscaping in keeping with environmental best practices and the Urban Wilderness Identity of Griffith Park.
By showcasing an ecologically-sound landscape and hands-on “seed-to-landscape” nursery classroom, it will enable us to create an outdoor learning environment meant to engage the Los Angeles community in native plant horticulture and provide a multi-faceted and dynamic model from which other landscape projects throughout Los Angeles can benefit.
This project is a collaboration among the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, the Dept. of Recreation and Parks, and The Nature Conservancy. Special thanks to Grown in LA and Studio MLA for initial design and site work contributions.
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➤ Fire-wise and Formal Garden Area: Ember-resistant zone (ERZ) and defensible space featured around both Nursery House and Garage, non-combustible seating, fire-wise native plants, shade garden, water-efficient low volume sprinklers, recirculating fountain, and rooftop sprinklers.
➤ Water Capture and Stormwater Management: Rain barrels along Nursery and House and Garage, existing dry streambed extended/modified, rain downspouts diverted underground to streambed and to irrigate garden areas, and permeable driveway to reduce run-off.
➤ Repurposed and Upcycled: On-site materials and Park “waste” such as broken concrete or other nursery and/or urban debris repurposed and incorporated into the design.
➤ Local to Los Angeles: More than 50% of the plants sourced from permitted local seed collections and grown on site, specifically highlighting species indigenous to Griffith Park/Los Angeles.
➤ Seed-to-Landscape Nursery: Hands-on demonstration and community engagement area with work tables, farm sink, shadehouse for seedlings, and full-sun plant bump-up area.
➤ Aromatic Garden & Hedges: Native plants with aromatic leaves, native hedge demonstration with large, evergreen shrubs left to grow with natural form, as well as formal native hedge demonstration.
➤ Fruit Forest: Existing greywater-fed fruit trees supported by a soon-to-be-installed hugelkultur berm featuring pollinator-attracting native perennials.
➤ Milkweed and Wildflower Corner: Raised planter area with large terra cotta pots acting as retaining wall and featuring native wildflowers of Griffith Park. Local milkweed for Monarch butterflies growing in on-site canoe on display.
➤ Hillside Restoration: Demonstration of hillside native planting strategies for erosion control and habitat enhancement.
➤ Oak Understory & Cactus Garden: Oak-associated native plants for shade underneath two mature existing coast live oaks. Adjacent existing non-native cacti/succulent garden enhanced with native cacti/succulent species.
➤ Conservation Seed Farm: Monoculture of chosen native species for Griffith Park conservation and seed farming, as well as regular seed harvesting from landscape as part of native plant propagation education and workshops.