The WPA Rock Garden was established in 1940 through the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Based on recollections of long-term residents of the area, besides trees and shrubs were annuals and succulents. After Proposition 13, the staffing and funding was reduced and the gardens were planted with groundcovers such as ivy and vinca.
In the fall of 1988, Daisy Mah, City of Sacramento Parks employee, began a major undertaking of revitalizing this neglected site. Currently, plantings are mostly from Mediterranean regions with a growing emphasis on California natives. The one acre hillside garden is comprised of a series of rock lined beds and meandering paths. Over the years, many of the former plantings have been since replaced with a more drought tolerant and wildlife friendly palette. Plants range from annuals, grasses, herbs, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs.
Presently, Mah maintains the garden on a part-time basis with help from a fabulous group of garden volunteers. The Perennial Plant club, California Horticultural Society, and individuals have helped support efforts to beautify the garden.
The garden currently attracts native and Italian honeybees, butterflies, and birds, including hummingbirds, and lizards that compliment the naturalistic plantings.
The Garden is located about a 1/4 mile east of Land Park Drive on 15th Avenue, across the street from Fairytale Town.
A Grove of “Timeless Beauty”
As a child growing up in the Land Park neighborhood, our former treasurer, the late Judith Waegell had fond recollections of bounding through the WPA Rock Garden. Perhaps that early experience nurtured her love of gardening expressed in her extensive and beautiful garden. To honor her dedicated service to our club, the board approved a planting of trees for the rock garden. Because of her interest in California natives, I (Daisy) suggested a grove of five desert willows (chilopsis linearis “Timeless Beauty”). This native is smothered with fragrant lavender and white blooms throughout the summer.
The five trees have been incorporated along a hillside to the eastern edge of the rock garden. It is gratifying that this area that was once a thicket of shrubs will again be expanded to make way for more drought tolerent, wildlife friendly and beautiful native plants that will honor our native flora and our friend Judy.