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The Lower Gardens

"I find more absolute rest and quiet here than anywhere else;...There is lots of sport...and if you care to see people mingle....you can go to the hotels. It is a paradise wherever you go; fine roads, pretty scenery...and the table is such as a rule there is no danger of your weight increasing;"

-- AB letter 3-06-1905 to Mr. Bixby written from 1021 S. Orange Grove Ave.

Panorama of the Lower Gardens

Fantasy becomes reality...

The Lower Gardens was all the property west of Arroyo Drive and was a rustic, less formal garden of 16 acres. Work started on this acreage in the late spring of 1906. Both gardens were officially open to the public - free of charge, 7 days per week - in July 1909. Here Lilly Busch recreated the tableaux of fairytale figurines that enchanted her grandchildren at “Villa Lilly” in Germany. This garden would become a favorite location of film companies desiring a forest setting. Easter egg hunts for orphans and the disadvantaged were often held there. Fund raisers, flower and dog shows, carnivals, concerts, and even a political rally were staged in the Lower Gardens.

There were several miles of winding footpaths and one extensive road wide enough to accommodate carriages and automobiles. Bridges were fashioned from Arroyo stone, utilizing stalactite-type projections pointing downwards. The railings were faux tree limbs made of cement in a clever marriage of rebar and wire mesh as a skeletal frame. The park’s bird baths/drinking fountains were fashioned in this same distinctive style.