Skip to main content

June 2014

Uncovering and Celebrating L.A. History: Los Angeles State Historic Park

Panoramic view of the Los Angeles State Historic Park by Downtowngal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The first Los Angeles train depot, built by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885, will soon be transformed from an industrial brownfield into a world-class green space that provides a place to play, walk, and explore the city’s rich history. Constrained on all sides by an existing development in the Chinatown area, railroad tracks, and major public thoroughfares, the park consists of 34 acres of grass and dirt. However, the completed project will recreate much of the environment of Los Angeles before it was developed and will include a vernal pool and wetlands, welcome pavilion, citrus grove, river information and park ranger stations, walking trails, and several areas for picnicking. There will also be a space designated for outdoor concerts.

The Secret Life of Weeds

While white clover (trifolium repens) is commonly thought of as a weed, it is an ideal plant to blend into grass lawns since it doesn’t need fertilizer and it is drought tolerant.

Most of us can find more than a few unwanted plants in our landscapes and yards that we want to throw away; we see them as weeds that aren’t wanted and are competing with those we do want. It would be useful, however, to think of them as the poet and naturalist Ralph Waldo Emerson did: “A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.” Many of them are simply plants that are native—and beneficial—to our particular region of the world. Some of them are indeed “weeds”—not native to our area, and considered “noxious” and prone to crowding out the plants that are natural to our region. Discovering the “secrets” that weeds and our native plants hold can enable proper landscaping and planting decisions. In fact, telling the difference can help identify many native plants that are decorative enough to keep as additions to a garden.