Environment & Science

2 Los Angeles gardens make nonprofit group's list of 'threatened landscapes'

An undated photo of a path at Fern Dell garden in Griffith Park.
An undated photo of a path at Fern Dell garden in Griffith Park.
Courtesy Los Angeles Public LIbrary

The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden and Fern Dell, a 90-year-old fern garden in Griffith Park, are on a nonprofit group's list of threatened landscapes in the United States.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation releases its annual "Landslide" list to highlight at-risk parks, gardens and other landscapes.

This year's list features 12 spaces, including the two gardens in L.A.

Charles Birnbaum, the president and founder of the Foundation, says a number of the places suffer from a lack of attention.

“One of the things that Fern Dell has in common with, unfortunately, so many of the sites that are on the list is that we’re looking at decades of deferred maintenance,” said Birnbaum.

The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden received the group's attention for another reason: it's at the center of a legal dispute.

UCLA wants to sell the property but Carter's heirs argue that the university is violating a 1982 agreement to maintain the garden "in perpetuity." An L.A. County Superior Court judge has issued a temporary injunction, halting the sale for now.

In a statement, UCLA said it is confident that it followed all the appropriate legal steps.

The university also maintains that "campus resources are best directed toward our academic mission, not maintaining a garden that serves no teaching or research purpose."

The 2012 list also highlights the patrons that supported each of the landscapes.

Other sites to make the list include Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. and New York's Jones Beach.