Roger Klemm, a Shadow Hills resident, works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena where he writes, integrates, tests and operates software for interplanetary spacecraft and space-based research experiments. The Sunland Welcome Nature Garden is one of many community beautification and restoration projects he has completed since moving to the area in 1989. He presently serves as the president of the community’s Rotary Club.
In 2011, with the help of community volunteers, Klemm instigated the renovation of the Sunland Welcome Nature Garden.
THE SUNLAND WELCOME NATURE GARDEN
The creation of the Sunland Welcome Nature Garden involved removing an expansive hillside of invasive, combustible Fountain Grass from the city-owned property.
From there, Klemm began an extensive native plant propagation effort that included more than 50 different species and totalled several hundred plants. The garden was planted in 2013, and has expanded to the Wildflowering Annex across the street. As all gardens do, it continues to grow and evolve over time.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
- Necessity: Highly invasive Fountain Grass sat at the intersection of the 210 Freeway and busy Sunland Boulevard, posing fire hazards.
- Know-How: Roger Klemm recognized the danger and understood rewilding to be the solution.
- Community: As a hyper-involved resident of the area, Klemm believed he could
count on friends, neighbors and area businesses to help improve and beautify the space.
- Free the community of a highly-visible patch of invasive Fountain Grass and educate the community about the dangers it presents, in wildspace and in gardens
- Create a garden of plants authentic to the Sunland-Tujunga area
- Keep water use to a minimum while increasing greenery, drought tolerance and mitigating fire danger
- Inspire community pride, cohesion and native knowledge
- Initiator: Roger Klemm, Sunland-Tujunga Resident
- Designers: Cassy Aoyagi, FormLA Landscaping
- Advocates: Once the garden was underway, additional advocates joined in the fun, including the STNC Beautification Committee and the Love The Neighborhood Initiative.
- Maintenance: Roger Klemm and community workdays promoted via the garden’s Facebook page.
- Cost: $3800 for signage
- Mitigation: Roger Klemm propagated more than 50 species of native plants. At its peak the propagation effort involved several hundred plants, and generated an estimated savings of several thousand dollars. FormLA Landscaping donated design decomposed granite path installation. Community volunteers both removed invasive grasses and planted the propagated natives, rewilding the approximately 5000 square foot space. The city’s public works team was also supportive.
Returns on Investment
Strategies to Replicate
Q&A with Roger Klemm