My Garden: Pasadena Transformed

A weed-covered lot in Southern California, owned by Caltrans, is completely redone by a couple who live adjacent to the garden, complete with native varieties, a citrus grove, and hundreds of new plants, creating a Mediterranean idyll.

This three-acre garden in Pasadena, California, is considered "My Garden" by Betty and Charles "Kicker" McKenney, who live in a townhouse adjacent to it. But the story of the garden is a bit more complicated than that.

Originally purchased by Caltrans for building a freeway, the property had become a weed-covered abandonned lot. In 2003, the City of Pasadena and Caltrans began to think about a new way develop the lot. Betty McKenney suggested a garden and eventually, the city and Caltrans agreed. (McKenney adds that it probably helps that her husband, Kicker McKenney, was a former councilman for the district in the 1970s!) Together, Betty and Charles McKenney, the City of Pasadena, and Pasadena Water & Power, combined to create Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden on property leased by the City from Caltrans.

Join us in a slide show tour of this amazing garden, grown on public land.