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L.A.'s beloved native plant garden tour canceled: But there’s (virtual) hope

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Hugel berms filled with California native plants frame the paths in the backyard garden of this Hollywood Hills West home, one of 42 landscapes included in the Theodore Payne Foundation’s Wild Flower & Native Plants annual garden tours. The tours were canceled Friday due to coronavirus concerns, but now the organizers are trying to create virtual tours online.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

The coronavirus claimed another victim Friday, when the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants canceled its popular two-day garden tours of 42 landscapes heavy on native plants and water-wise enhancements.

But wait! The organizers say they plan to keep the March 28-29 event alive through virtual tours we can watch online, from the safety of our homes.

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It’s not perfect, said garden tour coordinator Margaret Oakley, “but it’s better than nothing.”

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The decision to cancel real-time tours came after Theodore Payne questioned property owners about how they felt having hundreds of potential virus carriers touring through their yards.

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“We have to put wellness of the community above other concerns,” Oakley said. “The question is, can we just slow society down for two weeks and help slow the spread of this disease without inciting panic — just calmly, mindfully slow down?”

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Oakley put a task force together Friday afternoon to explore ways for property owners and designers on the tour to create short, narrated videos of their landscapes and then post them online for people to see. “We have two weeks to iron out the details,” Oakley said. “We’re not sure what this will look like yet, but we’d like to at least try. It would be great for people to have a positive outcome in all this negativity.”

Stay tuned. Watch theodorepayne.org for details.


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