Green thumbs needed at Highland Park library

When the new Arroyo Seco Regional Branch Library opened in 2003, the Highland Park building was landscaped with a new garden featuring native and drought-tolerant plants.  That garden, however, has fallen into neglect, prompting the Highland Park neighborhood council to hold a clean up and replanting day this Saturday, Feb. 5.  It’s a first step in providing some overdue maintenance that the library lacks funds to perform. “The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council were told much of the original plantings are simply not there any more,” said neighborhood council director Janet Dodson.  “They are presumed to be stolen or vandalized. It’s current sate is appalling.”

Earlier this week, Lynette Kampe, executive director of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, visited the library at Figueroa Street and Piedmont Avenue to review the landscape and make recommendations about what to plant this Saturday, said Trisha Gossett, who has spearheaded the project. One of the 68 plants, which were paid for by Council District 1, that will be plant is Nevin’s Barberry, a hardy shrub that will be used to help shield library’s rock walls  from taggers.  Once the plants grow, anyone considering tagging those walls they “may want to put on a suit of armor,” said Gossett.

Gossett said more volunteers are needed this Saturday for the planting, mulching, weeding and other clean up. “We need weed pullers dying to get out their aggression.”

Gossett said the clean up and planting are part of a “maiden voyage” in a long-term effort to repair vandalism and beautify the library. In addition to the plantings, security cameras donated by the neighborhood council and Council District 1 will help keep an eye out against vandals.

“Libraries should not be allowed to go into a state of decline,” Gossett said. “They represent nothing but wisdom and should be maintained.”

More details on Arroyo Seco Library Clean-up & Replanting Day.

Photo courtesy Highland Park neighborhood council


  1. Glad to hear about the planting. Arroyo Seco is my library and I have been dismayed by the landscaping since it was opened.

    Below is a link to a description of Nevin’s Barberry from the folks at Theodore Payne Foundation, along with an early description of the plant by Mr. Payne.


  2. Great news!
    Nevin’s Barberry is awesome. It’s actually endangered.
    Will be great for the birds & bees.

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