Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Case of the Mysterious Pocket Park

When I first moved to my neighborhood, I would often pass this cactus garden on Topanga Boulevard and marvel at the creativity of the people who chose such a unique landscaping scheme for their yard. Were they industry people who had a bunch of leftover props from a Western shoot and didn't know what to do with them? Cactus lovers with a lot of spare time on their hands? Then, not too long ago, a strange thing happened.

The yard started growing.

First it moved to the median separating the parking on Topanga from the road.
Then in crept to the other side of the street and took over the bus stop.
Soon it made it all the way down the road to an adjacent parkway.
That was when I started investigating and, through the power of Google maps, discovered that this was no private "yard." No indeed, all the plantings were located entirely within the public right-of-way. This was a rogue pocket park. Some mysterious person was taking decrepit public space and turning it into a lovely, drought-tolerant pedestrian mecca. But who?

Sadly, that part of the story remains a mystery. Even with avid googling I was unable to find anything except posts from a few other Angelenos who were as confused as I was. And despite the fact that the park and parkways remain meticulously well-groomed, I have never seen a soul working on them. Presumably the people living in the house next door have something to do with it, but who can really say?

We can say one thing, though. Charming as the garden may be, it almost certainly violates the city's new residential parkway landscaping guidelines--and probably breaks some rules about the use of public roadways, since part of the park appears to be located within an (unused) public street.

I won't tell if you don't.

No comments:

Post a Comment