Of Parrots and Persimmons

Flocks of wild parrots are having loud parties in the trees of Leimert Park, as one of our committee members discovered on a bright November day above her persimmon tree. There are said to be thirteen different wild parrot species in the Los Angeles Area.

Wild parrots are not native to our area; they were first spotted in the city in the 1960s. There are some different theories on where they came  from: CurbedLA provides two of them in this article.  What seems clear is that the flocks did not migrate here, but formed from parrots escaping or being released into the wild, and they’ve been successful at finding a niche in the ecosystem.

The California Parrot Projects studies the wild parrot population. You can participate in their research by reporting parrot sightings.

Want to see more parrots? California Parrots Flying Free

Leimert Park Beautification Project – As Promised!

The Leimert Park Garden Tour Committee is thrilled to report that we were able to implement our first Leimert Park beautification project on Saturday, October 27, 2018:  the planting of an additional six trees and over two hundred drought-tolerant flowering plants on the Degnan traffic circle median. This median is located prominently in a major traffic artery on Degnan Blvd. just north of MLK Blvd., and is a well-traveled route to the Metro Expo line.

We are especially grateful for the support of so many who contributed to the success of this project. A big THANK YOU to our neighborhood volunteers who showed up early on a warm Saturday morning to lend a hand with planting, as well as these wonderful partners:

  • GreenArt Landscape Design, Inc. and owner, Brent Green, for the donation of his design expertise and crew.
  • Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) for their generous grant, which, when added to the profits from our 2017 Leimert Park Garden Tour, enabled the purchase of plants and irrigation equipment.
  • The City of Los Angeles Street Services Department of Urban Forestry for its donation of four Jacaranda trees, which provide a visual continuation of the beautiful Jacarandas that line Edgehill Drive.
  • The City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Adopt-A-Median Department for its help in obtaining the necessary permits.
  • Our generous 2017 and 2019 Garden Tour sponsors: Heather Presha of Keller Williams Realty, 2017 sponsor, and Nia Mallet of Coldwell Banker Brokerage, 2019 sponsor.

We hope that you’ll enjoy this new addition to the Leimert Park neighborhood, and encourage you to come out to the second biennial Leimert Park Garden Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2019. Check out sneak-peek photos here and please sign up to receive emails so that we can provide you with a occasional email update and ticket sales announcement.

Savory Sage in October


Hummingbirds are fans of sage, or salvia, which flowers much of the year in sunny Southern California. It’s a member of the mint family, as are as oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme, and basil. One writer called its long stemmed look “impressionistic.”

This one, blooming in October in a charming backyard garden in Leimert Park, is visited by hummingbirds and doubles as part of the kitchen herb garden.

In the fall, roast butternut squash on a bed of washed sage leaves, make sage butter and put it on fish, infuse honey with sage, or make sage tea, which is purported to have many health benefits (antioxidants!).

Check out the Sneak Peek of the Leimert Park Garden Tour, coming up on May 18, 2019, where innovative gardeners love plants that do double duty!

Water main break doesn’t dampen the Garden Tour!

Hi everyone! There was a water main break on Degnan Blvd early this morning, closing the street. But this has not dampened our spirits, and the event is on!  The sidewalk is open, so you can walk into the Garden Tour Hub at 4305 Degnan Blvd.  You can also enter the parking lot at 3400 43rd Street, between Crenshaw and Degnan, and look for our banner.  There is plenty of parking in Leimert Park Village.  You come to the Hub to get a wrist band and map of the tour, and there will also be fun activities, vendors, and of course, jazz.  Rain or shine, look forward to seeing you there!

The median is the message

This median (pictured) in Leimert Park is maintained by residents.  See how it started in this video from 2011 about guerrilla gardening. Members of the original team spruced it up this weekend to be ready for visitors to our part of the city! Hope you can join us for the tour – which is all about LA indoor-outdoor living, and what we make of it!

 

RIDE ON! – bike the garden tour

We’re excited to welcome one of our newest businesses to Leimert Park, Ride On!, a newly formed bicycle co-op located in Leimert Park Village. Proprieter Ade Neff, a passionate alternative-to-cars enthusiast, explained his vision of creating a bicycle co-op,whereby a member-run collective can repair bicycles and conduct clinics for the local community. In addition to repRide On! logoair services, Ride On! will also conduct workshops on bike safety and advocate for bicycle infrastructure equity in Southwest Los Angeles.

Located just steps from the Garden Tour Hub, Ride On! plans to offer discounted bike rentals (bring your own helmet) to ticketed garden tour attendees on the day of the garden tour, Saturday, May 6, 2017. With a 1.2 square mile flat-as-a-pancake terrain, bike racks provided by the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition, and bike valets on hand at each tour home to safeguard bikes, visiting the gardens via bicycle could not be easier.

In 2016, Ade was featured in this video explaining his vision.

Ride On! is located at 4319 Degnan in Leimert Park Village in the space formerly occupied by Africa By The Yard. Stop by and say hello. You can contact Ade Neff to set up a bike repair appointment or to get more information on joining the co-op:  323-863-5434 or email him at Ade@rideonbikecoop.org.

Old furniture gets new life at garden tour home

A unique bench offers an inviting place to relax on the front porch of one of the homes included in this year’s tour. Committee member Lena Hobson recognized it right away as the work of Lester Anderson, long time South L.A. resident and owner of Anderson Country Benches.

Mr. Anderson did not set out to become a furniture builder. But while hauling away heaps of abandoned furniture from sold homes he was hired to clean out, he began to envision these cast-offs as beautiful, one-of-a-kind creations: headboards, cabinets and benches. The latter became his signature creation.

His work can be seen at local flea markets, including the Sunday Melrose Trading Post, or can be custom ordered by contacting him at (323) 236-1222. More of Lester Anderson’s work can be viewed here: Anderson Benches on Instagram

Leimert Park – LA’s neighborhood of the year!


Leimert Park faced off against San Pedro in the final round of this annual bracket competition, emerging the winner of the award for LA’s neighborhood of the year. “Along the way to the coveted imaginary trophy, Leimert Park also scored victories over rapidly changing Frogtown, high-seeded Highland Park, and trendy Koreatown. Tough matchups, but the resilient residential community prevailed each time.” See the full article here.

Lemons of Leimert Park

Lemons of Leimert Park

Like a lot of Southern California, we have an abundance of lemons. Neighbors are not shy about sharing, and it’s fun to make something with lemons that you can share back. Lemon chicken soup is nice when the weather is still cool. Lemon desserts for days – for example Lemon curd is easy if you have a high powered blender. You can freeze lemon juice and zest for future use, and the lemon curd and soup freeze well too.  Freeze measured amounts of lemon juice as ice cubes or in freezer bags. In the hot months, Gail taps her frozen juice supply to make gallons of refreshing lemonade.

GAIL’S LEMONADE

Make simple syrup:
Mix one and half to two cups of sugar with 1 cup of water in a 2-quart saucepan.  Simmer on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.

Mix lemonade:
Put 12 cups of water in a large bowl.  Stir in the simple syrup. Add 2 cups fresh lemon juice (defrosted, if frozen).  Makes 2 large containers of lemonade.