Are there new lotus at the Echo Park lake? Well, maybe. There sure are water lilies!

Lotus and canoe 1932 Echo Prk lake
The lotus plants in Echo Park lake in mid-summer in 1932

The lotus that have grown in Echo Park lake for almost a century were supposedly planted by that charismatic evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, whose Angelus Temple is right across the street.  In 1972 a Lotus Festival was established and it was a very popular mid-summer event attended by people from all over the city.

Then a few years ago the Asian lotus, Nolumbo nucifera, which had died back every winter, failed to be reborn.  No one seemed to know what happened to them.  Was it pollution? Old age? (Plants don’t live forever, folks)  Or something else.  There was a huge uproar in the neighborhood and finally one man who lives in the San Fernando Valley admitted he had–several years earlier–taken shoots or tubers or whatever–from the Echo Park lotus and been growing and reselling them.  He announced he was happy to SELL some of these lotus plants to the L.A. Parks Dept. to restore the lotus to Echo Park Lake.  SELL??!!  Sell back what he had taken??!! More uproar!!

water lilies at Echo Park lake
The newly planted water lilies, not the Asian lotus, in Echo Park lake are protected by netting.

All this, however, has brought about a renewal at Echo Park lake, which has always been a place with a lot of activity–joggers, walkers, sunbathers, etc.

What appears to be lotus have been planted in the north end of the lake. The leaves are still underwater so I’ve not included the murky photo.  New water lilies have been planted in other parts of the lake.  The city now regularly puts bass and trout in the lake for fishermen to catch.

Fisherman at Echo Park Lake
This fisherman is after the bass and trout that are now put into Echo Park lake regularly. The tent-looking structures behind the fisherman are nets protecting the new water lilies.

I don’t remember if the people who run the  little boathouse use to rent boats to paddle around and canoe rides, but they do now.  They also have a little cafe for breakfast and lunch.  The island in the middle of the lake is now closed, but I think it has been closed for a long time.

Peddle boats at Echo Park Lake
Golden-orange pedal boats lined up and waiting for fun-seekers at Echo Park lake.
two tai chi ladies
Two ladies practicing Tai Chi in the early morning sunshine at Echo Park. Behind is the fountain in the middle of the lake.

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