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Paradise Transplanted

Paradise Transplanted: Migration and the Making of California Gardens

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 314
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  • Book Info
    Paradise Transplanted
    Book Description:

    Gardens are immobile, literally rooted in the earth, but they are also shaped by migration and by the transnational movement of ideas, practices, plants, and seeds. InParadise Transplanted, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo reveals how successive conquests and diverse migrations have made Southern California gardens, and in turn how gardens influence social inequality, work, leisure, status, and our experiences of nature and community. Drawing on historical archival research, ethnography, and over one hundred interviews with a wide range of people including suburban homeowners, paid Mexican immigrant gardeners, professionals at the most elite botanical garden in the West, and immigrant community gardeners in the poorest neighborhoods of inner-city Los Angeles, this book offers insights into the ways that diverse global migrations and garden landscapes shape our social world.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95921-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. 1 Gardens of Migration
    (pp. 1-25)

    When a fire destroyed the chaparral on a hillside in LA’s Griffith Park in 1971, Amir Dialameh, an Iranian immigrant who worked as a wine shop clerk, got the idea to build a garden there. He began by terracing two acres with pick and shovel and his own bodily strength, clearing burnt-up tree stumps and planting jacaranda trees for shade, as well as magnolias, pines, pepper trees, roses, geraniums, bougainvillea, ferns, and succulents. For nearly three decades, this lifelong bachelor hiked up the hill to tend the garden, working about four hours daily, scarcely taking a vacation. He paid for...

  6. 2 Ellis Island on the Land
    (pp. 26-70)

    In the late nineteenth century, Southern California was sold as a garden tonic to cure the ailments of Anglo Protestant midwesterners and easterners. “The Land of Sunshine” promised a paradisiacal Shangri-La full of exotic flowers, fruits, and foliage, a new Eden free of the foreigners and undesirable immigrants who were just then crowding into Chicago, New York, and Boston. Already it offered a veritable smorgasbord of exotic plants transplanted from Asia, Australia, South Africa, and Latin America, boasting palm trees, rubber trees, pampas grass, date palms, Italian cypress, and of course, citrus trees heavy with oranges. Roses were so plentiful...

  7. 3 The Gardeners of Eden
    (pp. 71-115)

    It’s noisy in the suburbs. From eight o’clock in the morning until dusk (8:30 p.m. in the summer), blowers and mowers are buzzing continuously. Only constant immigrant labor and the most efficient gas-powered machinery can keep private home gardens looking the way they do now in Southern California, which is to say mostly like perfect patches of paradise. Private residential gardening is now outsourced to Latino immigrant men who tend to plant life and debris outdoors, while Latina nannies and housekeepers tend to human life and its detritus indoors.

    Ramon Espinoza is one in this vast army of immigrant gardeners....

    (pp. None)
  9. 4 “It’s a Little Piece of My Country”
    (pp. 116-160)

    Once a month on Saturday it’s cleanup day at the Franklin urban community garden, just west of downtown Los Angeles.¹ Outside on the sidewalks, Latino and Korean vendors sell used clothing and household goods, transforming an intersection into an informal open-air market. Dresses and jackets hang from the trees and chain-link fences, and shoppers dawdle as they haggle and inspect used tools, blenders, toys, bedspreads, shoes, and still more items. This is a poor neighborhood, and around the block, hundreds of people line up every Saturday morning for bags of food distributed at a church by the LA Regional Food...

  10. 5 Cultivating Elite Inclusion
    (pp. 161-190)

    One of the largest Suzhou-style scholar’s gardens outside China opened to much fanfare in the San Gabriel Valley in 2008, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. The project brought together diverse donors, scholars, and landscape architects in a complex transnational collaboration, and in this chapter I discuss the social process and context in which this Chinese-style garden emerged at the Huntington. Like many museums around the world, the Huntington now seeks to include exhibits that will better reflect contemporary societies formed by globalization and migration.¹ The Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, marks a...

  11. 6 Paradise, Future
    (pp. 191-218)

    After the Franklin Community Garden closed for infrastructural improvements, Monica Sanchez, who had served as the paid gatekeeper and hub of community life there, lost her job and was banished from her inner-city Eden. Without an income and access to the garden, she fell into a depression. She thought she might move to Texas, where a relative owned a plant nursery, but instead she and her children first moved in with a niece in Chinatown, and then went to East LA. On Mondays through Fridays, she now worked as a live-in nanny for a Nicaraguan woman, and like many live-in...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 219-248)
  13. References
    (pp. 249-264)
  14. Index
    (pp. 265-278)