The 4th annual Mar Vista Green Gardens Showcase on Saturday displayed top-notch eco-friendly landscaping, an abundance of blossoming sights and even chickens and bees.
The unsung heroes of the event were the dozens of Mar Vista residents who graciously opened up their ridiculously gorgeous yards and generously shared their vast gardening knowledge.
One such resident was Marilee Kuhlmann, who opened her garden in the 3700 block of Redwood Avenue to the public and gave a rapt audience of a handful of gardeners a symposium on water conservation and soil optimization.
Kuhlmann advised a gardener who had problems with an organic soil to consider worm casting to provide better nutrients in the soil and gave a first-hand demonstration of how to do it yourself. She also had a stormwater catcher system installed and a composting setup on the side of the yard and explained how they worked.
Kuhlmann, who owns Comfort Zones Gardens Design, is a member of G3, The Green Gardens Group, which promotes eco-friendly landscaping; the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and part of the Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens, which fights urban runoff from gardens.
Across the street, Nancy Hastings was greeting visitors at her front-yard garden that had signs designating it as a certified wildlife habitat and one of Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens.
Hastings said she works for Surfrider so it made sense to convert the grass garden in 2007 to help reduce garden runoff, which is the top cause of ocean pollution in Los Angeles. Hastings said she only paid to have the grass and stones removed and did the rest. The garden started out with 10 plants that were bought for under $10 each and now attracts a steady stream of birds who dart around a huge Mexican daisy plant.
Sherri Akers, an event organizer, estimated that more than 2,000 people attended and a lot more visitors on bikes were seen this year. The Mar Vista Green Gardens Showcase blog has seen heavy traffic and return visits as they check back for landscaping ideas, Akers said. Gardening enthusiasts are also checking the site to plan out walks year-round to view the front yards and also conduct gardening research.
"What I love is that we are able to use a day that is so enjoyable to share so much information – about ocean friendly gardens, pollinator habits, urban beekeeping, labeling GMO's, the need for bluebird boxes, rainwater capture – the list is endless," Akers said in an email after the event. She said the showcase has gone beyond being about conserving water and into an opportunity to focus on what we can do to rescue the planet.
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