A Rock Garden For The Community
The Panorama City Rock Garden started in May 31, 2020 by Javier Mejia as a response to the piled up garbage in the area, a common issue in the Northeast Valley where some small spaces in neighborhoods are consistently used as dumping grounds. One day, Mr. Mejia decided to pick up the trash being dumped at this space and decided to start planting. People eventually began to leave painted rocks. Jonathan Martinez, a CSUN alumni, began documenting the rocks and created an Instagram page for the space.
“That is how I came into the picture – I came across the IG page and fell in love immediately. I would come to the cleanups. Now, I am tending to another space just further up the block, where I am restoring native habitat – some of the plants are endangered species – which are drawing in several species of bees and butterflies. I make educational videos as much as possible. I personally want to educate people about California’s biodiversity and what small actions we can take to protect it,” shares Noemi Romo, a community organizer in training and an avid California Native plant gardener/advocate.
The main goal of this project is to bring positivity and unity into the community. The addition of the little library brings an educational component to the rock garden.
“It means so much to me and all of us involved. Its where I go when I lose hope – as an activist its easy to get burned out and discouraged. Going to the garden and seeing how much joy it has brought to people in the area recharges me. Going and seeing native species of bees recharges me. Going and suddenly “oh! There’s a new rock!” recharges me. Its just a good testament to what a community can achieve together,” adds Noemi.
As a part of their mission to promote community involvement, they are hosting an open mic and art pop-up event called Suburban Wasteland Launch Party, in collaboration with Drifter Zine, a San Fernando Valley based zine, dedicated to showcasing writers and artists in the 818 and beyond. It will be held tomorrow, August 21st from 5:30pm -8:30pm, featuring Chile Morena, SFValley Photos, Crema Closet, Yair and Dominick Ortiz.
For more information, follow them on Instagram @panoramacityrockgarden. Swing by and add to their rock collection or donate some books. The Panorama City Rock Garden is located at 13255 Tonopah St., Panorama City 91402