Historical Society’s Sixth Annual Garden Party & Tour to Benefit School Greening

Photo by Mary E. Nichols

LOS ANGELES – The Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society’s sixth annual Garden Party & Tour will take place April 17, 2011. The tour encompasses the neighborhoods north of Wilshire Boulevard to Melrose Avenue, between Highland and Van Ness Avenues. This is a unique opportunity to see some of the oldest and most elegantly landscaped private properties in Los Angeles. Of special note is the tour’s dinner and silent auction at Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

Proceeds from this event are dedicated to continuing substantial greening work at LAUSD’s John Burroughs Middle School, and extending the beautification efforts along Wilshire Boulevard at McCadden Place.

The tour will be held in honor of Cindy Chvatal-Keane for her contributions to this historic neighborhood and the city of Los Angeles. Cindy is President of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, est. 1948. She cofounded the Hancock Park Historic Preservation Advocacy Group and was a key player in the establishment of a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) to protect the character of Hancock Park. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the California Science Center and is an Executive Producer of the acclaimed television series CSI.

The highlight of this year’s tour are the historic Ronnie Allumbaugh Gardens at Getty House, created in 1928 by renowned garden designer A.E. Hanson. They include the sunken “Blue” Garden and the Rose Garden, which were restored in 2010 and are rarely available for viewing by the general public.

The Historical Society’s Garden Party raised more than $30,000 for greening at John Burroughs Middle School in 2010. Additional funds were raised from business and community groups, including the Hancock Park Homeowners Association est. 1948 and Walt Disney Pictures. As a result, the front of the school was completely transformed, with new irrigation, hardscape, benches and plantings. Funds from the 2011 tour will extend the work south along McCadden Place, and turn the corner onto Wilshire Boulevard along the south end of the campus.

The 2008 and 2009 tours raised more than $30,000 for the creation of outdoor garden classroom planters, numerous fountains and a 3D sensory wall mural at the Frances Blend School Special Education Center (LAUSD), serving visually impaired children with multiple handicaps. Additional funds and support were provided by the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council and Paramount Pictures.

In 2007, $13,000 raised from the tour was allocated toward the installation and planting of landscaped traffic islands on Wilton Place, a busy street in the neighborhood. This endowment enabled complete funding of the project by the City of Los Angeles, and our funds were returned. They were reallocated to a greening project at LAUSD’s Wilshire Crest School and a bronze plaque at Robert Burns Park.

The inaugural year of the tour was 2006, and the Historical Society raised $10,000, which was donated to the City of Los Angeles toward developing a green median on Larchmont Boulevard just north of Beverly Boulevard.

Getty House serves as the beginning and end of this wonderful afternoon. At check-in, attendees will obtain programs with a map indicating the addresses of all the private gardens, which are not revealed until the day of the tour. Getty House is also the site of an afternoon lecture, “Organic Container Gardening,” by Jo Anne Trigo of Two Dog Organic Nursery.

Attendees are advised to wear flat shoes, and to bring hats and sunglasses.

Following the tour, all attendees are invited to return to Getty House for a light supper, a spectacular silent auction and a presentation to this year’s honoree.

Tickets to the event are $55 each and can be purchased online at www.wshphs.org or by mail from:

WSHPHS Garden Tour
137 N. Larchmont Blvd., #135
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Tel: 213-243-8182

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