Chakra Announcements

New Dwarka Garden Renovation

by Kriyasakti dasi

Posted March 12, 2006

In the past, many members of the Los Angeles temple community, including congregation, visitors and neighbors have approched New Dwarka management to "do something" about the garden and sidewalk area beneath our "Hare Krsna Community" signature sign on Venice Blvd.

I am the person working on that area, along with management and other members of our community. It is a huge undertaking and is being worked in stages. I would like to infom everyone about this project.

We felt that the removal of the three Queen Palms was necessary, because all of them were planted directly beneath power lines. The whole block had already had one power outage from leaf fronds weighing on the utility wires. It was not a simple matter of trimming, as two of the trees were planted in very difficult areas next to walls and close to a neighboring building. If this had been delayed and the trees got any taller, live removal would have been impossible. It would have been necessary to cut them down. Queen palms are quite common and fast growing. Home Depot, a hardware megastore with attached plant sales area, sells a 6-ft. (2m) palm for $60. Of course, the taller they are, the more costly and dangerous they are to remove and transport.

Three contractors came to look at the job and refused to take it on because of the degree of difficulty. Then, one arborist agreed to do the work and paid us for the trees! All three trees were taken out successfully and safely with no damage to property. Three very gnarly fan palms with thorny barbs that reached out to the walkway were also removed and sold. The money earned was put back into the garden renovation project.

On the day that the Queen Palms were to be removed, the verse in Srimad Bhagavatam class that morning was 4.9.63. Srila Prabhupada starts the purport with: "In this verse the word amara-drumaih, " with trees brought from the heavenly planets " is very significant . . . and sometimes as practiced even now, some valuable trees are taken from one place to another.

Also, the instant that the first tree was lifted by crane to be loaded, it started to rain. Many of us felt that this very difficult endeavor to save the trees was being blessed. Heavy watering will definitely help the transplanted trees to recover. The trees will find a happy home on the contractor's land. He is also a friend of Lord Krsna.

The next phase was to clear the wall of clinging ivy and thick brush so that it could be painted. I do regret that a beautiful flowering jasmine had to be cut, but the plant was removed, as was a plumeria tree, and three suckers from a mother banana. All were transplanted. An automatic sprinkler system has now been installed in the garden and sidewalk area.

The existing sidewalk area beside the garden wall is only 4 ft. (1.2m) wide -- hardly wide enough to accommodate the heavy flow of daily pedestrian traffic, which includes wheelchairs, parents with baby carriages, rollerbladers and skateboarders. Thorny rose bushes and redwood chips that scatter create a hazardous situation. Also, tall dense bushes near the sidewalk area make it unsafe for our neighbors to walk at night.

The plan is to widen the sidewalk, and a portion of the area will be planted with grass. The remaining area that borders Venice Boulevard will be planted with low shrubs and soft ornamental grasses. Rose bushes from here will be transplanted to temple grounds and some of the other plants will be transplanted and used in the walled garden area.

Our choice of plants for the walled area will be waterwise and able to tolerate full sun. The plan is a "California style" garden with native plants. Once established, they will need water once a week. Lots of color, texture, different shapes, growth rates and height factors are all considerations for the beautification project. Layout and choice of plants are still in the planning stages.

We will keep you posted on further progress. Thank you for your interest.