Eden, Journal of the California Garden & Landscape History Society
by Kelly Comras, FASLA

Dorothy Buffum Chandler, the Buffum’s Department store heiress and the driving force behind development of the Los Angeles Music Center, was a powerhouse figure in the Southland. In her role as an editor for the Los Angeles Times (her husband was the newspaper’s publisher), she nominated landscape architect Ruth Shellhorn for a 1955 Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year Award after learning of Shellhorn’s work at Disneyland and Bullock’s Wilshire.

In 1956 Shellhorn created an original adaptation of a Mediterranean garden for the Chandlers’ home in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The one-acre garden was a serene oasis of cool greens – stone, pool, and vegetation combined to make a soothing pattern of textured patterns as a background for the soft flowering colors so favored by Dorothy. The spatial arrangement of the different areas of the garden was designed to be flexible and cleverly accommodated large groups for entertaining and fundraising, but included intimate spaces for relaxing and quiet visiting with a few friends.

After the death of the Chandlers in 1977 the estate was sold and subsequently declared a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2006.

Read the article in the Winter 2019 * Volume 22, Number 1 issue at cglhs.org or: www.kellycomras.com