South Coast Botanic Garden celebrates 50th anniversary

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LA County officials will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the South Coast Botanic Garden today. KPCC's Molly Peterson says the "Jewel of the Peninsula" wasn't always sparkly.

The botanic garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula bloomed out of a landfill. Los Angeles County owns the property; during the 1950s it operated the landfill on the site of an old open-pit mine. The county covered more than a million acres of trash with clay. Now 150-thousand landscape plants cover the same 88 acres. LA County officials will hold a ceremony to mark the anniversary, along with an open house. Botanic garden volunteers offer tours by tram and by foot. The annual spring plant sale starts the same day. County finances almost closed the botanic garden some years back. But 50 years after its life as a dump, the botanic garden's success serves as a model land reclamation project.