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The Garden of Oz

The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz

In 2nd grade, I played the lion in my elementary school’s version of The Wizard of Ozzzzzzzzzzz wherein we relayed information about insects via the timeless tale of Dorothy’s exceptional search for Kansas in a land of bees and termites.  We were in good company of word play based on the 1900 novel/1939 film.  The Garden of Oz is among said company in nomenclature, but it’s distinctly Los Angeles in experience.

Like Simon Rodia of Watts Towers, Hollywood Hills resident, Gail Cottman, has mosaicked her garden with glass and other found objects.  Like the mélange of heritage in Los Angeles, the Garden of Oz has multiple thrones paying homage to various figures from Duke Ellington to Hiroshima survivors.  And, like the Angelino sensibility of public life, the garden is closed off behind locked wrought-iron gates and is unassuming to the driver-by.

From the outside, one has access to “The Wall of Toys,” designed by Arthur Sellers  (one of 75 contributing artists), “A Throne of Your Own,” and a mail box where one can deposit letters to Oz.

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Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake ShrineSelf-Realization Fellowship Lake ShrineSelf-Realization Fellowship Lake ShrineSelf-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

The first thing you encounter when entering this lake of meditation is the “Court of Religions” honoring Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. There’s an authentic reproduction of a 16th-century Dutch Windmill. There’s a shrine devoted to Ghandi containing some of his ashes. While this is a busy and eclectic place, few envrions beg you to quietly contemplate like the Lake Shrine. For more information check here: http://www.lakeshrine.org/

The Getty Center

The GettyThe GettyThe GettyThe Getty

I enjoy $15 parking, Renaissance art, and oil money about as much as I enjoy lectures on electromagnetism.  This is to say I don’t understand them and moreover, I try to avoid thinking about them.

Fortunately, the Getty Center is so much more than what I’ve boiled it down to. The views alone make the Getty a worthwhile venture, but the architecture is also one-of-a-kind.  American born though internationally acclaimed architect, Richard Meier, puts to use the ridges of the Santa Monica Mountains and 1.2 million square feet of travertine limestone.  The stone, which built most of Rome, does nothing short of transport the visitor to the Mediterranean.  Additionally, the “rational” design produces an irrational sense of wonder.

Between the 134,000-square-foot central garden, the continuous calendar of public lectures, and the 28 modern sculptures meticulously dispersed throughout the grounds, visiting the 110-acre compound has a little something for everyone.

Brand Park Memory Garden

Father Junipero Sera

It’s easy to see this rose garden through this rose colored glasses when standing by the statue of a small Indian boy happily held in the arms of Father Serra, founder of New Spain’s mission chain. Before the garden became a memory, this park was part of the original land grant of the San Fernando Mission. It was given to the city in 1920.

Exposition Park Rose Garden

I have become a garden fiend. While all gardens are obviously awesome, this garden is particularly desirable because

a) 20,000 rose bushes

b) 4 gazebos

c) 3 bordering museums

d) 1 fountain

e) 0 dollars to enter

For more info check here: http://www.laparks.org/exporosegarden/rosegarden.htm

Topanga Cactus Garden

Topanga Cactus Garden entrance gatesCactus grow in shopping cartsTopanga Cactus Garden directions postTopanga Cactus GardenTopanga Cactus Garden Wagon

I have been curious about this place forever. Does the city own it? Is it private? When I googled the address, all I found was something called Planet Muscle Magazine and I can’t for the life of me figure out what body builders and a cactus garden have to do with one another.
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