A group of volunteers has transformed the area in front of the mosaic mural on 25th Street.
Two years ago, the city parkway in front of the mural was filled with weeds, dirt, trash, and dog waste. LynnDee Conley, a San Pedro resident who volunteered with artist Julie Bender on the mosaic mural full-time for two years, wanted to beautify that area. Once the mural was complete, Conley turned her attention to the unsightly parkway in front of the mural.
Conley secured a donation from Kellogg’s to prepare the soil for planting. The dirt was amended with sand, environmentally safe fertilizer, and mulch, creating a friendly environment for the succulents to grow. Conley and her husband donated $1,000 worth of sedum, a low-growing succulent, to start the garden. They selected five colors of sedum that were used to help choke out the weeds.
“We decided to use succulents and cactus because they require no water, and the space has no water supply. The succulents we use are low in height, so the mural will not be obstructed. Native plants grow too tall and would block the view of the mural from the street,” says Conley. “Many people stop to see the mural, including people from Europe on their way to the airport or playing the geocaching game.”
The garden has pieces of pottery, plates, and an assortment of small and flat rocks mixed in between a variety of succulents that create a beautiful tapestry. Community members brought items from their homes to be part of the mosaic. Julie Bender would find places on the wall for these unique and personal items. The garden consists of succulents and items from homes in San Pedro, mirroring the community synergy of the mural.
Volunteers are needed to help weed as the succulents continue filling the bare spaces. Plans are underway to continue the garden to the bus bench. The donated succulents have been primarily green; clippings of succulents in other colors, like purple and orange, are sought as donations. The area is succulents and cacti only; no other types of plants, like ice plants, will be used. Rocks are needed for décor and to help to keep weeds away.
If nobody is in the garden, clippings and rocks can be dropped off by the telephone pole at the bottom of the mural near the bus stop. Monthly volunteer gardening days are held on the second Sunday of the month between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No experience is needed.
As the garden continues to grow, birds and bees are finding their way to an area that used to be neglected. Conley, who envisioned beautifying the space, is grateful to the volunteers who have come together to make a difference. The mural and sustainable succulent garden were created by women who paid it forward. Together with volunteers, they created a beautiful space for the community to enjoy.
The Facebook group Gardening in San Pedro posts announcements about volunteer opportunities at the garden. For more information about donating or volunteering at the garden, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. spt