Native 01

Photos by Brian Addison. Full gallery below.

National, state, and Long Beach historic landmark Rancho Los Cerritos unveiled the completed second phase of their 25-year master plan, culminating in the completion of their new California native garden after several years of planning and design.

Back in 2003, the Rancho received a grant from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to redesign everything from the perimeter landscaping to the rehabilitation of the 33,350 sq. ft. arroyo. Following that, multiple sources came in to help fund the $4.5M overall enhancements, including the Port of Long Beach, the City of Long Beach, and the Ahmanson Foundation, among many others.

Native 02Before the work began, the area where the new garden is located was overgrown, trails were eroded, and the drainage system sorely lacked the efficiency needed to maintain the site. While the Foundation for the Rancho felt it necessary to rehabilitate, there were other concerns that they felt held a higher importance in addressing, including the creation of an overflow parking lot, a new visitor center, and various other enhancements.

However, after finishing those projects, the Rancho finally decided to focus on the northwest portion of the estate. Led NUVIS Landscape & Planning designers Linda Ford and Lesley Temple, the California native garden mimics the 1931 redesign of the landscaping created by Ralph D. Cornell for the Bixbys. Though the original plans could not be found (and making a restoration impossible), the Rancho discovered a list of the plants and trees Cornell had used and based their new design upon that.

The 30,000 sq. ft. of drought-resistant garden space now brings the Rancho’s total native garden space up to 1.5 acres.

Rancho Los Cerritos is located at 4600 Virginia Road and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 1PM to 5PM.


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