• Julie Grist/Patty Lombard

The Garden at Fire Station 29

You may have noticed the front yard of Fire Station 29 at Wilshire and Van Ness Avenue has gotten a new look.

The installation of the Centennial garden in honor of the station’s 100th anniversary was completed last week. The garden was the vision of Lyn MacEwen Cohen, founder of the First-In Fire Foundation who had long wanted to improve the campus of Fire Station 29. The Hancock Park Garden Club co-sponsored the garden along with other contributions from CD4, Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, Windsor Square Association, Windsor Village Association, Wilshire Park Association, Hancock Park Homeowners Association, Loveland Carr Properties, Fremont Place Home Owners Association. Thanks to in-kind donations were made by Studio-MLA, and Norman’s Nursery, the new garden has been installed beautifying the station prominently located on Wilshire Blvd. Under the leadership of Captain Mike Telles, Fire Station 29 firefighters provided a huge assist by upgrading all irrigation on site.

Designed pro bono by Rebecca Schwaner of Studio-MLA, the garden will also serve as a neighborhood demonstration garden with water-wise, drought tolerant plants complete with an arroyo for channelling rain water. Plant materials are a mix of native and non-native water-wise plants that will support local wildlife and offer educational opportunities for the garden club to showcase how to use native plants in our local gardens.

Julie Grist, VP of Projects for the HPGC, was onsite daily during the installation of the new landscape, and assisted firehouse staff in learning about setting the timing of the irrigation system. Irrigation will be monitored by FS29, with occasional visits by the installer.

Cohen and Grist are working with MLA Studios to create a written maintenance plan for for the firehouse. It is expected that pruning and shaping of plants should only happen a maximum of 3 times a year, but that the fire fighters should try to keep on top of weeding the property throughout the year during their regular Thursday site cleanups. The HPGC may want to assist the firefighters in maintenance during the first year; please contact Grist if you’d like to help out at the firehouse on occasion.

Cohen and Grist are also planning several community educational gatherings to bring local residents on site to learn about the landscape. These could be short events on weekend afternoons for visitors to learn about the types of native and summer-dry plants used in the landscape, maintenance tips, or other educational programming. These community workshops would be a great opportunity to distribute our “Your Next Front Yard” booklets. If HPGC members have ideas for community programming on site they’d like to see, please contact Grist.

The official unveiling of the garden is planned for February, allowing the newly planted garden to grow in a bit more before its official debut. And, because gardens are never truly finished, additional donations to the project are welcome. Funds will be used for additional plant materials, boulders and lighting.

Below are photos of the installation and the completed garden.

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