Neighbors have transformed the median on East Grand into a butterfly garden. (Photo by Karen Albrecht)

Hollywood Santa Monica (HSM) is known for its elaborate holiday celebrations, but this fall neighbors made great strides in beautifying their neighborhood without the use of holiday décor.

Gardeners in HSM built a butterfly garden in the park on East Grand’s median, hoping to be a respite area for migrating monarchs that are coming through Dallas this autumn. Neighbors obtained permission from the city to build the garden, fully funded the project and volunteer to maintain and add to it on the weekends.

Photo by Karen Albracht

The project aligns with the butterfly gardens the city is building all over Dallas. Urban biologist Bret Johnson says that monarch butterflies utilize the corridor of green space in East Dallas along White Rock Creek, including the growing Blackland Prairie areas, on their migration to Mexico. “The garden has gone from a patch of old median grass to a pretty impressive butterfly weigh station,” says neighbor Ed Zahra.

This Saturday at 10 a.m., there is an appreciation event for volunteers and donors to the garden. The program will highlight volunteers who’ve combined for 600 hours this year to create the space and will be attended by Park Board member Paul Sims and Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Adam Medrano.

HSM also moved to give their streets a vintage feel, employing craftsman Arthur Gonzalez to install ceramic tile street names on the curbs around the neighborhood. There are still a few of these old-school street signs around from a past eras, notably in the Parks Estates near the Lakewood Country Club. A HSM neighbor saw Gonzalez working one day and asked him if he wanted to continue his work in their neighborhood.

Photo by Ed Zahra

Profits from the Hollywood Santa Monica Home Tour funded the project, which has built 47 street signs for $20,000. This project was completely funded by the neighborhood, which confounded city staff who couldn’t believe HSM would be doing it without the need for city funds. “We just needed permission,” says Zahra.

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