Tag Archives: plants

8 Tips To Help The Environment This Earth Day


Join the Music Center and Grand Park this April 22nd for Earth Day LA. Photo by Javier Guillen.

April 22nd is Earth Day and I am personally very happy to think about how we can lend a helping hand to Mother Nature. In observance of this international day devoted to the preservation of our planet’s environment, The Music Center, DWP and Grand Park are hosting Earth Day LA. The event, scheduled from 9am-2pm, features an e-waste drop off, tours of Grand Park’s sustainable landscaping, composting, recycled art and so much more! Whether you spend the day at the park, or plan to go green elsewhere, here is a list of tips (inspired by the EPA) to make sure you have the Earth’s back:

1. Reduce: Consider cutting down on the amount of things that can become waste. When shopping, keep an eye out for products that are made from sustainable, reused or recycled materials, or choose to purchase  items in less packaging. It might feel like a small step, but the impact is huge.

2. Reuse: Feeling crafty? Upcycle! In other words, take items that might otherwise be thrown away and turn them into something useful for the household or workplace. There are so many awesome DIY projects, from milk cartons turned bird feeders, to potting plants in a pair of old stilettos. Let your imagination run wild!

3. Recycle: Help keep our public spaces clean! Properly dispose of trash and waste in receptacles and dumpsters. Recycle metals, plastics, and paper. Did you know that Grand Park has both trash and recycling receptacles placed throughout the park for easy access? There are even solar powered trash compactors to consolidate waste!

Have old batteries? An old P.C. that, in its heyday, ran Windows 95 ever so wonderfully? Those old games for Super Nintendo? The answer to those eyesores: e-cycling. That’s the process of recycling or properly disposing of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets. For the the upcoming Earth Day LA event at Grand Park, The Music Center and DWP, there will be an e-waste drop-off in The Music Center Plaza from 9am-2pm. You can also find a center near you here.

4. Buy locally, or grow your own! This can reduce air pollution caused by food and goods transport.

Colors, colors, colors!

Photo by Javier Guillen.

5. Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible. Californians rely heavily upon our water supplies to keep agriculture productive throughout the central valley and elsewhere. In the midst of an epic drought, like the one we are currently facing, it is now more important than ever to conserve water use.

6. Use human-powered and alternative modes of transportation to get to where you are going! Let’s face it, not only does it make you feel great to  walk, jog, cart-wheel, dance or  ride a bike from place to place, but it also improves our air quality! Why spend your life in the car? Take public transportation, carpool, plan your day in order to reduce trips and vehicle emissions, and avoid Los Angeles’ traffic. Need to go to the laundromat AND the grocery store? Do them both in the same trip to save your dollars and help the environment at the same time.

Stop! Smell me! :-)

Flowers can be found blooming at different times of year throughout Grand Park.

7. Plant a tree. Or plant several trees!  Plant native species in your gardens and encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by featuring their favorite plants. You can learn about composting tomorrow at Earth Day LA. You can also take a tour of the sustainable landscaping to learn more about the Grand Park’s plant life.

8. Save energy at home. Turn off the lights and unplug appliances when they are not being used. You can also choose to purchase energy-saving appliances. Don’t know which ones are energy-saving? Look for Energy Star!

Give us a shout out on Twitter or Instagram @grandpark_LA to let us know how you plan to spend your #EarthDayLA

By Grand Park’s resident blogger, Mitchell Colley

The Plant Life of Grand Park: Designers Talk Their Favorites


A rendering of Grand Park during design phase.

It is hard to believe that the park is now well over three years old. I remember four and a half years ago when I would go out of my way to walk or drive by Grand Park on my routes home just so I could catch a glimpse of the construction progress. Watching it evolve through the cracks of the mesh green fences became a part of my daily trek. It was so exciting to see this much-needed green space grow from rendering to reality.

block 3

Wherever you are in the park, you will find an abundance of plants.

When I heard I was getting to meet with the masterminds of Grand Park, I became so excited. As a young boy, I dreamed of becoming an architect. My dad would drive me through various neighborhoods for inspiration, and I would immediately request to rush home so I could sketch a better version of the homes and public spaces we had discovered. Paper pads and colored pencils were a consistent birthday gift for me each year. This is probably why I love downtown so much. I have the same routine as I did when I was younger. I continue to imagine the future. When I sat down with architects John Fishback, Tony Paradowski and Jessa Chisari of Rios Clemente Hale Studios, I had many questions on my agenda. What was their vision for the park? What were their obstacles? What were some of their favorite features?

As we chatted over lunch, I quickly learned that as landscape architects, their favorite feature of the park was to no surprise, the plants. A huge component of the park that some may not have noticed is that park is home to plants from all over the world and planted within with curved lines all throughout the park. These lines represent the meridians of the earth. Various floristic gardens feature plants that are living in Los Angeles but are also native to different regions all over the world. During the year these native plants come alive and go dormant. No matter what the season there is always something in bloom.


The curved concrete lines represent the meridians of the earth. (Taken during construction)

“One of my favorite parts of the Grand Park project was tree selection and planting.” John explained. “During the construction process I had the pleasure of visiting many nurseries in search of the 325 new trees that were to be planted at Grand Park.” With the exception of the 40 Sycamores trees that were planted throughout the park, each tree was individually selected for its branching structure and overall form. John had the opportunity to personally oversee the planting of new trees as well as a number of existing trees that were being relocated to different parts of the park. “I specified the orientation of each individual tree based upon views to promote the growth of major branches over the walkways and to create shade. It was so much fun!”


Palm tree installation during construction.

“One of my favorite trees in Grand Park is the Phoenix Canariensis, the Canary Island Palm.” Though the park is filled with the unofficial tree of LA, the palm, John did not originally love the tropical tree. “When I first moved to Los Angeles I did not like palm trees. They seemed so pointless because they never made very much shade and were usually planted as single trees, far apart from one another.” The palm garden at The Huntington changed John’s mind. “I learned to really like a lot of the palms, especially when planted in a cluster to create an oasis of shade.”


John’s favorite plant, Phoenix Canariensis, the Canary Island Palm

community table

The blocks between Grand and Broadway (Blocks 1, 2 and 3) are all nestled above parking structures.

The designers at Rios Clemente Hale also had many obstacles and restrictions when choosing what plants went where. Because two blocks of the park sit above a parking lot constructed in the 60s, engineers had to come in and determine just how many plants and soil the parking lot could support. Because of this Tony told me a little secret on just how they made it work. Many planter beds in many parts of the park sit in about four feet of soil, atop various depths of good old-fashioned polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) to decrease the weight put on the existing parking lot. This fascinated me. We are walking through this urban oasis that, come to find out, literally has so much depth to it.

Though the designers spent years selecting what plants would work with these restrictions, nowhere in the park will you find a lack of foliage. Over the past year I have enjoyed exploring the different plants that make up the park. One of my favorite plants is the Evergreen Fountain Grass. Growing up in northern California, there was never a shortage of huge fields filled with this grass. One could gaze out and see acres and acres of grass. There is a different backdrop with this grass here in Los Angeles as shown below, but it meshes a little bit of my old home and my new home quite nicely!

fountain grass

Evergreen Fountain Grass

What is your favorite plant located in the park?

Give us a shout out tomorrow on Twitter or Instagram @grandpark_LA using the hashtag #floresdegrandpark to let us know!

Joshua Levi, special to Grand Park, Downtown With Me