Echo Park lotus bed in 2005. Photos by Martin Cox
When Echo Park Lake’s clean up is completed next year, one of the last jobs of the $65 million project will be the replanting of the legendary lotus bed that once bloomed in the northwest corner of the lake. The lotus, which by some accounts were believed to be planted during the late 1920s, died off about four years ago, with a city report unable to pinpoint what killed the floating bed of floppy green leaves and pom-pom sized blooms. Biologists and others working on the $65 million Echo Park Lake project said at one point that the new lotus bed could be replanted with different varieties of lotus, which would bloom in different shades of color instead of the uniform pink and cream flowers that had grown in the lake. So, what kind of lotus will bloom anew in Echo Park Lake? Apparently officials in charge decided to stick with tradition.
Michelle Vargas, a spokeswoman for the city’s Public Works department, said the city will order 92 tubers and 286, four-gallon containers of what’s called Sacred Lotus – Nelumbo nucifera – to duplicate the now dead lotus bed. The blooms from the plants supplied by an aquatic nursery will stick with the pink-and-cream color palate. A new observation platform on the Glendale Boulevard side of the lake will provide park visitors with an elevated view of the flowers.
But Echo Park lotus lovers will have be patient. Even though the new lotus will be planted sometime next year, it will take at least two years for the plants to establish themselves, Vargas said.