This time last year I was back in the area - and took some time to explore Tongva Park in Santa Monica.
Tongva Park is a 6 acre urban park, located on Ocean Avenue a couple of blocks from the Santa Monica Pier. The park officially opened on October 19, 2013.
Informational sign at the entrance.
Lots of drought tolerant plants. I believe these are Agave Attenuata, native to Jalisco, Mexico. They're fairly common here in Southern California.
The large ficus trees (as well as a massive fig tree) have been there for years. Apparently, Tongva Park was previously a six acre parking lot.
At any rate, it's awesome to see a twist on the old Joni Mitchell song: "They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot." In this case, just the opposite.
The park features a beautiful overlook deck, allowing for outstanding views of the adjacent Pacific Ocean.
Another view of the overview deck.
Tongva Park was designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, the New York-based design team behind the High Line in Manhattan.
Here's a link to an outstanding article from the Los Angeles Times, with ten times more information that you'll find in the wikipedia article.
While Southern California is no longer in an extreme drought, water conservation is a ongoing issue. Xeriscape, based on the Greek word "dry" is drought tolerant landscaping. Unfortunately, xeriscape can sometimes be "zero-scape" --- rocks and weeds.
That is not the case in Tongva Park. The James Corner team did an excellent job brining in an incredible 30,000 plants from more than 170 unique species. Above, aloe plants - native to North Africa.
Southern California's Mediterranean climate allows for unique plants that simply can't be found anyplace else in the US.
It was a weekday afternoon in late Fall; the park was relatively quiet. I'm sure it's busier on weekends and summer months.
Palm trees in the background. Tongva Park has more than 300 trees from 21 species.
photo credit: http://tongvapark.smgov.net
Here's an photo of what that park originally looked like: a 6 acre parking lot. Note the palm trees along the perimeter, which were wisely kept.
There is a fun children's play area, no doubt packed on weekends. I wisely decided against taking any photos with kids.
Across the street from Tongva Park is the Santa Monica City Hall, and Ken Genser Square.
Here's a link to the Tongva Park + Ken Genser Square website. More next time.
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