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Sunday Garden Tour to Raise Funds for Fire Station Greenery

By Edwin Folven, 4/19/2012



LAFD Capt. John Durso (left), of Fire Station 61, was joined at the station by June Bilgore and Myrna Robin Gintel, co-chairs of the Los Angeles Garden Tour and Party, and Fluff McLean, president of the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society. photo by Edwin Folven

The lush gardens of seven Windsor Square and Hancock Park homes will be on tour Sunday, April 22, as the 7th annual Los Angeles Garden Tour and Party is being held by the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society. This time, however, local fire stations will be the beneficiaries.

At Fire Station 61, at the corner of 3rd Street and Martel Avenue, plans call for landscaping and a fountain to be installed in front of the station near a memorial honoring the victims of 9/11. A vegetable garden and tree planting is also planned at Fire Station 52, near Melrose and Western Avenues. Firefighters at both stations said the support is much appreciated.

The tour and party begins and ends at the Getty House on Irving Boulevard, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles, and includes a self-guided tour of  the Getty House and six additional gardens and properties in the surrounding neighborhood. The event also includes a gardening lecture, awards ceremony, dinner and silent auction, with proceeds to be used for the greening.

“If we didn’t have someone helping us, it would be money out of our pockets, because we don’t get anything extra from the city,” said Capt. John Durso, of Fire Station 61. “The contributions in this case will help beautify the station. It’s going to be low maintenance landscaping because we are really busy around here, but it really helps with things the city can’t provide.”

Capt. David Lucas, of Fire Station 52, added that the improvements will make the station more livable. Firefighters at both stations work 24-hour shifts, with rotating one day on and one day off.

“I think anything like this is needed, and in these tough economic times, anything that can help is appreciated,” Lucas said. “It will definitely benefit the department and the city.”

Fluff McLean, president of the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society, said approximately 500 people are expected to participate in Sunday’s event. She said it gives people an opportunity to tour the grounds of some private residences that are rarely open to the public, and also provides a badly-needed community service benefit. In addition to the projects at the fire stations, proceeds will be used to landscape a median near Norton Avenue and 6th Street.

“They will see some great examples of drought resistant gardens. It’s a showcase for the neighborhood, what makes it unique as a community,” McLean said.

The event is being co-chaired by June Bilgore and Myrna Robin Gintel, who said previous events have raised more than $62,000 for greening, including projects at John Burroughs Middle School and the Frances Blend School.

Tickets are $65, and can be purchased the day of the event at the Getty House, located at 605 S. Irving Blvd. The event runs from noon to 6 p.m., and participants can pick up a tour booklet and map beginning at noon. A lecture by Darren Butler titled “Grow Soil not Plants” begins at 3 p.m., with the reception running from 4 to 6 p.m. Lyn MacEwen Cohen, of the First-In Fire Foundation and the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition, and landscape architect, Mia Lehrer, will also be honored at the event.

More information is available at www.losangelesgardentour.org.



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