A New Gardening Year

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The days are getting shorter and hopefully they will get cooler (though the prediction of an extended period of extreme heat has me wondering). This signals both the beginning of a new school year, and the start of our monthly nature park volunteer days. The volunteer days are held on the third Saturday of the month, 9 am – noon. We meet each month from September through June. We don’t, however, meet in December, and in January we plan to hold a Planting Party for which the day has not yet been determined. Please confirm the dates on the Nature Park Facebook Page, the WeedingWildSuburbia.com calendar, or email me.

I am excited to report that this year we will be building new relationships as we work on new projects. Hope to see you on Saturday, September 17th, 9 am – noon.

coastal sage scrub in South Pasadena nature park
Months of hot, dry weather, yet the goldenbush (left foreground) is getting ready to bloom. Most plants have shut down until cooler, wetter days arrive.


We have three basic goals in our work in the nature park. Most importantly, we are working to heal a damaged bit of Earth. Our second goal is to develop and maintain meaningful collaborations. The park, however, does not exist in isolation. Our efforts to care for the land should be practiced beyond the park’s boundaries. Therefore, our third goal is to disseminate what we learn in the park to our community and beyond. 

Tend the Park

It has always been about the land. For the past 17 years we have carefully tended our small nature park. With care and gentleness, we remove weeds, introduce new plants, and listen carefully to what the land has to teach us. We will continue to listen and appreciate the relationships between the land and all who live on it. Stewarding the land has no start or finish, it is just what we do. This year we will:

  • Continue our gardening work in the park by removing invasives, and tending the land
  • Introduce new plants to increase diversity and enrich relationships
Volunteers in the nature park
Students volunteer in the nature park in Spring 2022

Develop and Maintain Meaningful Collaborations

Many people and groups have left their marks on the park. Whether working or just visiting, people are inseparable from the land. Friends of the Nature Park will continue to reach out to everyone who wants to strengthen their connection with the land. Most recently this has included:

  • Volunteers from organizations such as the Bank of America‚Äôs My Environment Volunteers, Lion’s Heart, PAWS, and many others
  • Scouts, with a shout out to Cub Scout Pack 7 for their ongoing commitment
  • Students, including the many pre-schoolers who visit the park
  • Community of South Pasadena, South Pasadena Beautiful, City Staff, Council Members and Commissioners
  • Other new groups and individuals who we hope to meet in the coming year. This especially includes Indigenous People, People of Color, and others who may not have had sufficient opportunities to participate in outdoor experiences.
Cub scouts volunteer in the labyrinth at the park
The cub scouts in Pack 7 have made a big difference in the park

Disseminate Information on Healthy Gardening

The drought is on everyone’s minds. Throughout our region, lush green lawns are going brown as we work to ensure that we will have adequate, clean water to meet our essential needs. This year we hope to offer programs to help educate the public on healthy gardening practices that focus on conserving water and resources, while protecting our urban forest. Topics may include: 

  • Water and other resource conservation
  • Reducing noise and air pollution in our gardens
  • How to develop pollinator-friendly gardens
  • Nurturing and healing the land
  • Increasing healthy habitat
Spring bloom in South Pasadena nature park
Healthy gardening means working with Nature. It means understanding and accepting that springtime flowers are followed by summer/fall dry dormancy (as seen in the first picture of this post).


With support from our city council, Bank of America, and other donors, we are planning the following new projects to help us meet these goals.

  • Creation of signage and outreach material to acknowledge the Indigenous People who have lived on and cared for this land from the time immemorial. It is hoped that the signage project will be the beginning of a long term relationship. We hope to share knowledge while we learn together how to live responsibly with appreciation, respect, and gratitude for all that Earth gives us.
  • Demonstration Garden at the lower entrance to the park, near the bicycle/pedestrian path. We will design and install a new garden with beautiful, low water use native plants. We are planning a Martin Luther King Service Day planting party in late January 2023. If you are interested in helping out with the design and installation of the new garden, please contact me at: barbara@weedingwildsuburbia.com.
Volunteers work in preparing for new demonstration garden
Volunteers prepare for a new Demonstration Garden. We plan to plant in late January.
Volunteers in the Demonstration Garden area
The work of the Bank of America volunteers make the nature park a beautiful and welcoming sanctuary. We have developed a closeness through their years of involvement. These connections among people and the land convince me that things will be okay. Join us!