New plantings beautify Barnsdall’s grove at historic Olive Hill

| June 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

RESTORING BEAUTY AT BARNSDALL. Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell recognizes tree donor Nathan Miller on behalf of all the donors along with (left to right) Lauren Blas, Javier Solis, Carolyn Ramsay, Daniel Tarica and Abby Chamberlain Brach.

Barnsdall Art Park welcomed 40 new olive trees to Olive Hill on June 16 with the help of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks and the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

Barnsdall Park is an 11.5-acre cultural destination in East Hollywood. It is the location of Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is Los Angeles’ only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PRESS SCRUM on Barnsdall Park’s Olive Hill reports on the commencement of planting for 40 new olive trees. Griffith Park and Observatory are in the far background.

The private Barnsdall Art Park Foundation (BAPF) raised $33,000 to plant and care for the new trees. BAPF hopes that the new plantings will help preserve the historic olive grove that has existed since the 1890s, improve the air quality of the East Hollywood community and further support the tree planting goals of Los Angeles’ Green New Deal.

Why olive trees?
Prior to the building of Hollyhock House, there was an olive grove on this hill full of thousands of trees. When Aline Barnsdall purchased the 32 acres for her residence, architect Wright made sure to include the olive grove as part of the landscape. But when Barnsdall died and her property was subdivided and portions sold, many olive trees were destroyed. In 1992, there were only 90 of the once thousands of trees left. So planting got underway.

The current Olive Grove Initiative began in 2021 with improvements to the irrigation system, pruning of the now-463 olive trees and removal of dead stumps.

Donors and attendees
The June 2022 planting ceremony included O’Farrell in addition to: Lauren Blas, vice president of Barnsdall Art Park Foundation; Carolyn Ramsay, executive director of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation; Daniel Tarica, interim general manager at the Dept. of Cultural Affairs; Abbey Chamberlain Brach, Hollyhock House curator for the Dept. of Cultural Affairs; Javier Solis, assistant general manager of the Dept. of Recreation and Parks; and tree donor Nathan Miller, CEO of Miller Ink.

THE HOLLYHOCK was Aline Barnsdall’s favorite flower. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright created stylized representations of the plant throughout Hollyhock House. Above, one of the many hollyhocks in bloom on the site.

Among those in the audience was architect Michael Lehrer, FAIA, who worked on the master plan for the park 26 years ago. Lehrer was particularly moved at the olive tree planting because he had come to Olive Hill and the Junior Arts Center as a child to take art classes. He remembered fondly Mrs. Harriet Miller, who directed the Center for years, and who was the grandmother of speaker Nathan Miller, who accepted recognition at the ceremony on behalf of all of them. Learn more at

By Cerys Davies

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Category: Real Estate

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