Featured Project Recent Plantings

San Rafael Park

San Rafael Park is a quiet oasis nestled in the Pasadena neighborhood at the corner of Melrose and Colorado. It’s a welcome haven for families who use the playground and picnic facilities under a canopy of Oak Trees.  But with saving water a constant goal in these drought challenged times, Pasadena Beautiful Foundation stepped up to assist the city’s ongoing conservation and planting efforts. 

Collaborating with the City Park’s program director, Jason Vegas, who said, “the plan was to enhance the park experience by implementing a native drought tolerant plant pallet throughout the perimeter of the park”.

PBF purchased and donated these drought tolerant plants which include Lantana Camara, Ceanothus Griseus Yankee Point, Salvia Clevelandii, Agave Americana, Lomandra Breeze, and Cercis Occidentalis.  Two Redbud trees were added in February. So, after weeks of hard work the results are there for all to see. 

When you drive or stroll by San Rafael Park, perhaps to grab coffee at “Little Flower” nearby, check out the green drought tolerant plants and the vibrant pop of color from the Lantana. It’s a cheery reminder that PBF is determined to keep enhancing our city’s public spaces in both a beautiful, and climate sensitive way. 

Events Recent Plantings

Arbor Day 2021

For 2021 the city decided to hold a scaled down version of Arbor Day on May 27th without volunteers doing the work and asked Pasadena Beautiful to donate one large tree to be planted by staff. 

A 48 inch box-sized Quercus virginiana commonly known as southern live oak was planted at Defenders’ Park by the city crew.  PBF Executive Board attended the ceremony after it was planted. 

Events Recent Plantings

Arbor Day 2019

Join us on Saturday to Plant Trees!

PBF funds and individually selects between 2-3 dozen trees each year in conjunction with the City to celebrate Arbor Day.  This is also an opportunity to teach local youth groups the importance, the planting and the care of trees.

Events Recent Plantings

Parsons Plant Transplant Project

The Pasadena Beautiful Foundation has been instrumental in what is expected to be a very successful relocation of numerous plants scheduled for removal from the Ralph Parson’s campus ahead of demolition and redevelopment of the property. Redevelopment of the Parson’s site on West Walnut has been a topic of conversation for the past few years. Late last year Pasadena Beautiful Foundation decided to see what we could do about salvaging some of that plant material . We contacted the developer, Lincoln Properties and were delighted to find a very enthusiastic response to our suggestion.

Pasadena Beautiful then contacted the Pasadena Department of Public Works to enlist their support, and the plan was hatched! Pasadena Beautiful and city representatives from the Parks Division met and walked Parson’s campus to get a good look at the plant material and determine what could be successfully harvested. Suggestions were made for the deployment of the plants in various city parks and library gardens  as well as the city hall complex including police headquarters.

The effort is expected to be accomplished in phases starting in mid February with the relocation of the plant material from Holly Street which is to be extended through to Pasadena Ave. Many of the plants have been transplanted in the courtyard garden at the Hill Street Library garden and its exterior perimeter. Others have been moved to the front entrance of the Central Library. Another portion of the plant material has been deployed to the area around the new facility in Central Park.

The second phase is projected to start in early June with the harvesting of the Walnut and Fair Oaks sides of the block and replant that material in parks and public green spaces throughout the city. Projected sites and ideas are currently being evaluated for potential suitability and sustainability.

A big thank you to Lincoln Properties for their positive support in our efforts to keep Pasadena Beautiful. Also many thanks to Jason Vega, Pasadena Parks Coordinator, and his great team that provided the manpower and equipment to get the task accomplished.

Events Recent Plantings

GroWorks Project 2015

PBF member, Julie Russell organized this event in collaboration with Learning Works.  PBF bought and donated 13 semi-dwarf citrus trees which were planted at the location on Walnut just down the street from Learning Works by volunteers.

Recent Plantings

Landscaping Project at Hill Avenue Branch Library

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation is pleased to announce the award of a grant from the Pasadena Community Foundation for the beautification of the Hill Avenue Branch Library.

Over its long collaboration, the City of Pasadena regularly makes suggestions to the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation (PBF) about City property beautification projects which could be managed by PBF.  In January of this year, a suggestion was made to PBF president, Polly Wheaton that revamping the courtyard of the historically significant Hill Avenue Branch Library would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation Volunteers in front of library

This building is jewel of public architecture designed by renowned resident architect Sylvanus Marston in 1925.  The Hill Avenue Branch is the oldest extant library building in the city and a lovely example of Spanish Colonial Revival style.  PBF contacted two landscape designers to create a plan and solicit bids for the c. 2500 sq. ft. courtyard.   Longtime PBF member Wendy Crowley submitted a grant proposal to the Pasadena Community Foundation (“PCF”) which was accepted in May 2014.

After researching the property at the Pasadena Museum of History, the designated designer Laurie Jutzi determined that the building originally had a covered patio and plans for a fountain.

As a result of input from a number of sources, a design was created which incorporated a wide pathway leading from the main library building to the extensive patio on the west side of the courtyard and to an additional seating area to the east.  It is recommended that some unsightly cement extensions to openings onto the patio and a broken concrete step by the large western patio should be demoed.  A fountain was proposed as a focal point for the path and views from various library windows.  Finally, a palette of drought tolerant plantings was suggested in keeping with the architectural style of the building and Marston’s original vision.

Parks and Natural Resources Crew Supervisor Tom Hunter, determined that decomposed granite with a substantial quantity of binder was the most economically feasible pathway surface.  The construction of the path and grading of the courtyard surface to drain away from the building towards the center of the space was a major part of the funding budget.  Mr. Hunter indicated that the city would install appropriate irrigation at their cost to connect with its city-wide CalSense system as well as provide 6″ arroyo stone sufficient to lay edging along the path to keep mulch from intruding on to the path surface. PBF has plans to have members of the foundation assist city employees with installing the plant material and spreading mulch on November 8, 2014.

PBF is confident that a twelve week period should be more than adequate to complete this enhancement to the Hill Avenue Branch Library, a beloved edifice in Pasadena’s architectural legacy.

Click here to download the proposal

Click here to download the projected timeline

This project was featured in the January 2016 issue of the Pasadena Public Library’s “Off The Shelf” e-newsletter! Click here to see the issue

From the Library: I’m pleased to let you know that the patio garden is very popular at Hill Ave Branch Library. We are pleased to be able to offer this space for people who want to read outside, eat lunch or play after crafts and programs, including story time. We have had one large program outside – an animal show, and we plan to have more programs soon. That space accommodates many more people than we can fit into any space inside. So, I want to thank you once again for helping to make this happen. Please pass my thanks along to all Pasadena Beautiful participants.

Recent Plantings

Pasadena Beautiful Day at Singer Park

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation members along with the City of Pasadena Parks & Natural Resources crew and Flintridge Preparatory School volunteers have gathered to restore plantings at Singer Park in past years.

Members of Pasadena Beautiful Foundation, along with City workers and Flintridge Preparatory School volunteers gathered to plant 60 new rosebushes in Singer Park—a special place for Pasadena families dating back over 80 years. In addition to the roses, planting areas were filled in with brightly colored gazanias and lantana.

Pasadena Beautiful Day, an annual event, reflects the organization’s ongoing collaboration with the City and local school volunteers as a demonstration of Pasadena Beautiful’s mission to maintain and enhance our city’s urban forest.

Roses planted at Singer Park in their glory.

Drought tolerant succulents planted around Singer Park sign.

Recent Plantings

Santa Catalina Library Garden Project

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation applied for and was awarded a grant from the Pasadena Community Foundation to redo the Santa Catalina Library front gardens. PBF Board member, Sylvia Hale, served as project chair. Landscape Designer, Gavi Yariv submitted a design and, Tom Hunter from the City of Pasadena created a grading plan. On Saturday, October 24, between 8 a.m. and 12 noon volunteers, along with the City, removed all plants. In addition, the City prepared the soil and dug necessary holes in preparation for planting.

The planting of the garden took place on Saturday, November 14 from a.m. to 12 noon. The garden is now drought tolerant and water-wise. Cityworkers and community volunteers participated in the planting activity. Sylvia Hale noted that the project was a very productive collaboration between library representative Barbara Ayala, Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena City Public Works’ Parks and Natural Resources Division and crews, the Pasadena Community Foundation and PBF.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held immediately following the planting.

Recent Plantings

Pasadena Senior Center New Landscaping

The Pasadena Community Foundation approved the full $10,000 grant request to re-landscape the Pasadena Senior Center west and front gardens.  Marco Barrantes of La Loma Development Company Inc. designed the plan.  Execution of the plan was completed in June of 2011 by the City of Pasadena with participation from PBF members.

Project chair Wendy Crowley acknowledged Bette Cooper, Sylvia Hale and the Pasadena City staff for the successful collaboration in securing and implementing the grant.

The grant monies allowed PBF to pay the City for the installation and placement of a new irrigation system.  Grant funds also paid for materials: drought-tolerant plants, two benches for bus riders and decomposed granite. Three trees will be purchased with monies from the Tree Fund.

Recent Plantings

Sidney F. Tyler Park

In early spring of 2013, members of PBF planted hundreds of donated narcissus bulbs at Sidney F. Tyler park.  This is the landscaped median which is between Lakewood Place and Lake Avenue, just south of California Boulevard.  It was beautiful when they were in bloom.

Unfortunately, this year’s warm weather and lack of rain precipitated a very short blooming season.

We hope next year it will be spectacular.


Recent Plantings

Benches Installed

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation has installed five benches in remembrance of it’s founding members at various sites in Pasadena.  Three of them provide much needed respite for waiting bus commuters. Two are at the Vina Vieja Park in the Off Leash Dog Park area and in front of the playground.  Each bench has a plaque with Pasadena Beautiful Foundation’s name and logo and the name of the person remembered.


In remembrance of Alice Frost Kennedy at the Alice Off Leash Dog Park.
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Pooch Rests at Alice’s Bench
A PBF member’s dog pauses for a rest at Alice Frost Kennedy’s memorial bench at the Off Leash Dog park in Eaton Canyon.


Bench installed at Vina Vieja Park in front of the playground in remembrance of Richard Nevins.
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Bench in remembrance of Ted Behr at 575 South Orange Grove Boulevard.
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In remembrance of Bob Cheesewright at 170 South Lake Avenue installed 2008.
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A bench installed on Del Mar Avenue and Hudson by the Pasadena Unified School District in remembrance of Alice Frost Kennedy.
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Each bench has a plaque with the Pasadena Beautiful name and logo and the name of the person remembered.