In The News

Pasadena Now: Residents Help Beautify Business Area, Enhance Water-Use Efficiency at Neighborhood Planting and Mulching Day

Published on Saturday, December 10, 2022 | 5:41 am

Image: City of Pasadena

Members of community organizations such as Pasadena Beautiful Foundation, Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association, and the City’s Youth Ambassadors program along with other residents were enthusiastic participants in a Neighborhood Planting and Mulching Day hosted by Pasadena Water and Power recently at a parking lot on Washington Blvd. and Lake Ave.

The event was the culmination of a six-month multi-departmental project between PWP, Public Works, Transportation, and Housing, MASH, and the Office of Economic Development to upgrade the site, PWP Interim General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. Work included lighting upgrades, parking lot improvements, and landscape and irrigation retrofits.

Kightlinger’s report said over 26 volunteers, together with PWP, staff planted a variety of drought-tolerant plants throughout the site and 14 new Carolina Cherry Laurel trees. Volunteers also applied mulch throughout the site to enhance soil health and moisture retention.

PWP also hosted workshops onsite on proper planting and mulching techniques and drip irrigation at the Nov. 12 event. Beforehand, City staff prepared the site by completing irrigation repairs and installing high-efficiency spray heads and drip systems, Kightlinger said.

PWP offers multiple programs to residents and businesses to support water-use efficiency, including rebates for irrigation improvements, turf removal, and landscape retrofits.

To learn more and view PWPs online library of water-use efficiency workshops, visit

In The News

Pasadena Water and Power and Pasadena Beautiful Foundation Collaboration

On Saturday November 12, members of the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation joined forces with Pasadena Water and Power for a “Neighborhood Planting and Mulching” day in North Pasadena.  

Volunteers from Bungalow Heaven and “The Ambassadors”, a high school group pitched in to help with the cleanup and planting of an urban space near Lake and Washington streets.  Pasadena City Councilwoman, Felicia Williams was also happy to roll up her sleeves and pitch in!

Everyone’s hard work paid off with a lovely new drought resistant array of plants.  Special thanks to our PBF volunteers who joined in to enhance yet another corner of our beautiful city. 

In The News

Golden Arrow Award Winner Photos 2022

The Golden Arrow Awards is one of our signature annual event.   27 awards are given to single-family homeowners to celebrate their efforts in creating front yard gardens that help beautify their streets and neighborhood.  

In The News

New Board Member

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation is pleased to announce our newest Board Member, Andrea Atanay.

Andrea went to Westridge for high school and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1994.

She is currently a Morgan Stanley Vice President, Portfolio Management Director &  Family Wealth Advisor.  Andrea began her career in the Financial Services industry 28 years ago. She began her journey on a trading desk at a start-up firm in Downtown LA and over the years rose up through the ranks to become one of only two, female Financial Advisors at Merrill Lynch in Downtown LA in 2009.

She has received several awards from Morgan Stanley and has served on the Diversity Council for the Pacific Coast Region. She is on the board of Grandview Foundation and was the previously Board Chair for AIDS Service Center and a past board member for the San Gabriel Educational Foundation as Chair of Business Development.

Being a mixed media artist, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for the arts as well as music. She considers her most important job to being a mom to her two teenagers.

In The News


By CYNTHIA YANG, Weekendr Staff Writer


The Oscars have glitz and prestige, as do TV’s Emmy Awards and a handful of others. But for a loyal and dedicated group of Pasadenans, all of the awards presented in the world—from the Espy to the Clio—pale next to the Golden Arrow Awards, presented by the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation.

This year’s awards will be presented, after a two-year pandemic pause, on Wednesday at the Western Justice Center, 55 South Grand Avenue, in Pasadena, at 4:30 p.m.

It is traditionally the Foundation’s signature annual event. Twenty-seven awards are given to single-family homeowners to celebrate their efforts in creating front yard gardens that help beautify their streets and neighborhood.

As Pasadena Beautiful Foundation President Brad Hanson told Pasadena Now recently, the foundation itself was founded in 1960. 

“The organization was started as a way to improve the city and to try to beautify the city,” he said.

“In the early days, they were trying to think of different ways that they could go about doing it,” Hanson continued. “And in the 1960s, the city of Pasadena had neighborhoods that were in decline, and Old Pasadena was not in great shape. And so it was around the idea of really trying to improve the city that the organization was started.” 

Having done a lot of sifting through archives recently, Hanson is still not exactly sure when the Golden Arrow awards were started.

It just kind of happened,” he laughed, “sometime after 1960.”

But the reasons for such an award remain just as viable, said Hanson. 

“The founders had this idea that if we awarded houses and gardens that stood out in the neighborhood, it would be a way to encourage other neighbors to  try to do the same thing. And it becomes kind of contagious.” 

“Now you see Golden Arrows all around the city,” said Hanson, “and we’re constantly being asked, ‘What do you have to do to win a golden arrow?’  And ‘How come that guy got it and I didn’t?’ Those kinds of things. 

“It was just a way to encourage people to continue improving their gardens and making sure that the house and garden go well together,” added Hanson.

The selection process begins in March of each year.

The city map is divided into nine areas.  In March, the first round, PBF volunteers drive down each street to view and select six outstanding gardens from each of the nine areas.  A second team then reviews these eight semi-finalists to choose the final three.  The winners are then invited to attend a reception and an award ceremony held in May. 

Yes, you can nominate your own home for a Golden Arrow award, he said. 

As Hanson explained, “Absolutely. We get both people who think highly of their own yard and so they nominate themselves, which is fine.” But,  lest one think that being nominated by a neighbor might help things along, that is not the case,

“Nominating by itself doesn’t necessarily give you a leg up,” said Hanson. “Just because you’re nominated by a homeowner or a neighbor, you’re still subject to the critical eye of the team that’s making the decision.” 

The Pasadena Beautiful Foundation Golden Arrow Awards, Wednesday,  May 25, at the Western Justice Center, 55 South Grand Avenue, in Pasadena, at 4:30 p.m. For more, click here.

In The News

Arbor Day 2022 Photos

On April 30, 2022 the City of Pasadena in partnership with Pasadena Beautiful Foundation hosted an Arbor Day event where they planted 25 trees near Robinson Park Recreation Center in Pasadena.

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. 

In The News

Arbor Day 2022 Video

On April 30, 2022 the City of Pasadena in partnership with Pasadena Beautiful Foundation hosted an Arbor Day event where they planted 25 trees near Robinson Park Recreation Center in Pasadena. This video was produced by Bobbie Ferguson, the Director of Production for Pasadena Media.

In The News

Pasadena Now: Pasadena Beautiful Will Mark Arbor Day With Community Tree Planting at Robinson Park on Saturday

Published on Friday, April 29, 2022 | 6:17 am

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation is celebrating Arbor Day on Saturday, April 30, with a community tree-planting event at Robinson Park, in cooperation with the Department of Public Works and Council District 3.

Starting at 8 a.m. in the south parking lot, staff from the Department of Public Works will provide a tree planting demonstration, and then take teams of volunteers to plant trees in the surrounding area.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be the first time in three years that Pasadena Beautiful is able to celebrate Arbor Day as a community gathering, said Brad Hanson, President of Pasadena Beautiful Foundation.

“It’ll be nice to get back to work and to be able to plant some great trees in the city,” Hanson said. “We move around the city for Arbor day. We don’t stick to just one area. We obviously want to do plantings all around the city in various neighborhoods or parks, and it’s hard to tell how many people will attend, but we usually get a pretty good turnout.”

The organizers will make tree care information available, and giveaways and light refreshments will be provided. Free mulch will also be available for pickup.

“We will be planting some jacarandas, some live oaks, some silver-dollar gum trees and a strawberry tree, and more than one of those,” Hanson continued. “So it’s a diversified group of trees but selected by our tree expert, Emina Darakjy, who understands which trees do best in certain areas. So hopefully they’ll last for generations to come.”

Pasadena Beautiful was founded in 1960, and one of its primary goals from then on was to plant street trees to enhance the beauty of Pasadena. Currently, in accordance with the City’s Master Street Tree guidelines, the Foundation’s tree expert hand-selects each tree for a specific site, and trained professionals supervise the planting and maintenance of trees to ensure a healthy tree canopy for the City.

Pasadena is known as one of the ‘tree cities’ in America, and Pasadena Beautiful attributes much of that to the community coming together on Arbor Day yearly, planting trees as well as advocating that trees are important for fighting climate change and for lowering the temperature.

“If you look at Pasadena from space, I think you can see the wonderful canopy that we have,” Hanson said. “This is a result of just planting trees over the decades. And now we’re reaping the benefits because just in the city, we’ve got a wonderful urban canopy of trees.”

On Saturday, participants are advised to dress appropriately – with closed-toe shoes, jeans, and sun protection. The event could last up to 12 noon.

For more information, visit To RSVP for the tree-planting event, email [email protected].

Robinson Park is located at 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave.

In The News

PCF Grant Brings Springtime Blossoms to Victory Park

Victory Park in northeast Pasadena is showcasing beautiful springtime colors this month, thanks to the recent replanting of 25 cherry trees. In late 2021, Pasadena Community Foundation awarded a capital grant to Pasadena Beautiful Foundation to fund the project, which focused on replacing “Pink Cloud” cherry trees, many of which were lost in the last decade to Bacterial Blight, with the hardier “Akebono” variety. Pasadena Beautiful planted the new trees earlier this month.

Pasadena Beautiful past president Emika Darakjy, who currently serves as the president of the California Urban Forests Council, selected the trees for Victory Park. She notes that “the Akebono variety is prevalent in Washington, D.C and Japan. They start with tight pink buds, open to white, and fade to a soft pink. The blossoms tend to hang on the tree longer.”

Besides brightening the park’s paths and expanding Pasadena’s urban canopy, the new cherry trees continue to commemorate our city’s cultural connection to Japan. Beginning in the early 2000s, the Cherry Blossom Festival SoCal donated 500 cherry trees to Pasadena to celebrate the history of Japanese Americans in the Pasadena area. The festival allowed the community at large to come together annually to understand this history. Victory Park hosted the festival in 2003 and 2004 and received a gift of 75 cherry trees. About 50 of those trees continue to thrive in Victory Park. In 2012, additional trees were planted to commemorate the centennial of Washington D.C.’s cherry trees, which were a gift from the Japanese people and the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912. Combined, the new and mature trees create colorful walkways throughout the busy park in northeast Pasadena.

In The News

Wednesday Weeders: Western Justice Center

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation has included the gardens at the Western Justice Center to its list for Wednesday Weeders. 

This March several scoops of mulch were delivered for the front rose sections and adjacent gardens.  Mulch is a good addition to keep the weeds at bay and to retain moisture during our long hot summers.  

Check out PBF volunteers who were on hand to spread the mulch.

In The News

New Board Member

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation is pleased to announce our newest Board Member, Sara Edwards.  

Sara Edwards is a native Southern Californian who grew up in San Marino. After majoring in Communications at UCLA, she launched a career in journalism working as the first woman to do on air reporting at KLAS TV in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She was the co-host of Evening Magazine in Boston and later became their theatre and film critic. During that stint she won three New England Emmys for her work.  She also was inducted into the New England Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Sara is Vestry member at St. Edmunds and is in charge of their annual fundraiser.  She is also organizing a speaker series there called “Inspiring Voices” in tribute to her mother.  She currently resides in Pasadena.

In The News

Pasadena Community Foundation 2021 Grant

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation (PBF) has been awarded a 2021 Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) Capital Grant for $16,250. We want to thank the PCF for this generous grant that will assist us in achieving our mission to restore, renew and protect Pasadena’s parks, urban forests, and public spaces. 

We are excited that this grant will support the re-planting of 25 cherry trees in Victory Park, in the Northeast area of the city. Many of the original Pink Cloud Cherry trees that were planted in the park in the early 2000 have been damaged. The new trees will be planted sometime early next year in time for spring blooms. Below are some photos when they are in full bloom. Stay tuned for more information on event regarding the re-planting. 

In The News

Commercial Design Award Ceremony 2021

On October 21st, Pasadena Beautiful Foundation awarded the Commercial Design Awards to 9 recipients from the city. The event was held at the Maxwell House, part of the Western Justice Center, at 55 South Grand Avenue.

Each recipient’s representative provided a background history of their design, thought process and effort that showcased their talent to create a beautiful environment for their building and public enjoyment.

Click here to see the main Commercial Design Award Page

In The News

City of Pasadena: Greywater Systems

Greywater is water from showers, bath tubs, washing machines, and bathroom sinks. Using greywater is an innovative way to reduce potable water use and flows to the sewer system. It provides for an efficient means to irrigate plants in your landscape, and provides natural groundwater recharge.

There are three types of greywater systems – Laundry-to-Landscape (L2L), Simple, and Complex greywater systems.

Laundry to Landscape

PWP offers an L2L Greywater Program due to their simplicity, affordability, and easy maintenance. L2L systems are the only type of greywater system that does not need a permit to be installed.

Watch this video to view testimonials from PWP customers who have successfully installed an L2L system in their home:

Simple Greywater Systems

Simple greywater systems exceed a Laundry-to-Landscape greywater system and have a discharge capacity of 250 gallons per day or less. Simple greywater systems collect water from bathtubs, showers, and bathroom washbasins for irrigation purposes. Simple greywater systems do not include wastewater from toilets, kitchen sinks or dishwashers. Simple greywater systems require a permit, design and inspection by the City of Pasadena Planning and Community Development Department, because construction and installation of simple greywater systems require cutting of the existing plumbing piping. PWP designed a streamlined permit process and a rebate for permit fees to ease the participation in Simple Greywater Program.

Getting Started with a Simple Greywater System

Step 1: Complete the Greywater Standard Plan application package 

  • Download the Greywater Standard Plan application package
  • Complete the application package and submit all the pages of the application package to [email protected] for initial review prior to obtaining a permit. PWP will review the application package for completeness, and you will be notified if the application needs any additional information.

Step 2: Obtain Permit

  • After PWP reviews the application for completeness, you are ready to submit the application to the Planning and Community Development Department to obtain a permit before installing the greywater system. The Permit Center is located at 175 N. Garfield Ave in Pasadena, Monday-Thursday 8am to 5pm, and Friday 8am to 12pm. You can submit your application package in person at the permit counter. For more information visit the Permit Center site or call 626.744.6646.

Step 3: Install the System and Schedule a Post Inspection

  • Once you have received your permit you are ready to install the system. Contact the Building and Safety Department at (626)744-4655 to schedule a post inspection. The inspectors will verify that the system conforms to building codes.

Step 4: Request the Rebate for the Permit Fees

  • Submit the copy of the building final inspection sign-off to [email protected]
  • You will receive a rebate of up to $200 for your permit fees

Source: City of Pasadena Website

In The News

Pasadena Beautiful Fall Update

Come Join Us!

Pasadena Beautiful is delighted that fall is finally here.  We are looking forward to cooler crisp days and excited to resume our Wednesday Weeders activities.  

Our first fall meeting is on Wednesday, October 6th, from 8:30 to 9:30 am. at Singer Park at the corner of St. John and California Boulevard near the Huntington Hospital.  Please come join us and other volunteers to help prune, clip, trim, pick-up trash and to spruce up the park.  Just show up with your hat, water bottle and clippers for one hour a week.  It is a great way to start your day, meet our Board members and at the same time make an impact on keeping Pasadena beautiful.  

Please mark your calendar for our Commercial Design Awards which will be held on Thursday, October 21st from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. at the historic Maxwell House, Western Justice Center on 55 South Grand Avenue in Pasadena. 12 awards will be presented to commercial organizations that have incorporated outstanding landscape designs in their projects.  Those which have included creative uses of drought tolerant plants and irrigation systems.  Please check our website for more information closer to date.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Brad Hanson, President

In The News

Two New Board Members

A resident of Pasadena since 1999, Michael grew up in La Crescenta and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Business Administration. He served on the board of BCR A Place to Grow for over 25 years, including stints as Chairperson and Treasurer. BCR provides services for the developmentally disabled. He recently retired from a career in commercial banking.

Dr. Stephen J. Thornton has been involved in academia in various positions and capacities his whole life. He began his career in teaching in Australia.  He was the Professor of Social Science Education at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and since retired.  He was also previously the Associate Professor and Assistant Professor of Education at the Teachers College, Columbia University and University of Delaware respectively.  He has also extensively published books and articles on social studies. 

We are excited to have them both on our Board and believe their background and expertise in their fields will bring a great perspective to our organization. 

Brad Hanson, President

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. 

In The News

In The News: Pasadena Commemorates National Public Works Week And Arbor Day This Month

Published on Thursday, May 20, 2021 | 10:38 am,

Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo has issued proclamations formally recognizing both National Public Safety Week and Arbor Day in Pasadena this month, officials announced Thursday.

National Public Works Week, May 16 through May 22, celebrates the men and women who operate and maintain essential systems, such as sewers and storm drains, streets and sidewalks, traffic signals, public buildings, parks, and trash collection and recycling, city officials said in a written statement.

These vital roles “could not be provided without the dedicated efforts of our public works team members,” the statement said.

Arbor Day falls on May 27 this year.

In addition to the proclamation, the city will plant 11 trees around City Hall and the Civic Center, as well as a large specimen oak tree at Defenders Park, in partnership with the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation. Due to the pandemic, no public events are planned around the planting.

“The City of Pasadena is committed to trees as a defining feature of the city,” the statement said.

Pasadena has been named a Tree City USA designee by the National Arbor Day Foundation for 31 straight years, and has also received a “Growth Award” for its promotion of urban forestry, officials added.

In The News

New Board Member

Pasadena Beautiful Foundation is pleased to introduce our newest Board member, Christian Arndt.

Christian is a licensed architect and has spent the past 35 years working throughout Southern California on a wide variety of large commercial projects.  Most recently he worked at Moule & Polyzoides Architects in the Wallace Neff Office Building at California Avenue. 

During his tenure he participated on the Metro Gold Line-Del Mar Station, the De Mandel athletic pool at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, Plaza la Reina boutique hotel in Westwood, and Patios de Cordova condominiums in Pasadena at the intersection of Oakland and Cordova Boulevard. 

‘’I became disappointed with the current state of the professions for Architecture, Construction and Development. So in response, I have embarked on my solo career specializing in the design of custom homes with the Southern California characteristics we love and admire’’,  said Christian.   He has an enormous admiration for Southern Californian’s historic and traditional homes.  He also serves on committees with Pasadena Heritage and The Institute for Classical Architecture and Art. 

He loves all dogs, fine food and wine, attends classic car shows and likes traveling locally and overseas.  

We believe his background and expertise will bring a great perspective to our organization. 

Brad Hanson, President

Please see Christian’s video tour of Pasadena City Hall: