When Katherine Coones moved from Orange County to Redondo Beach about 3 years ago, she did so reluctantly. Once here, she needed a way to make her new place feel like home.

Her passion for gardening helped her accomplish that, and made our neighborhood more beautiful at the same time.

Katherine loves to paint, so populating colorful rock gardens was how her Gratitude Garden first came to life. She cleared a parched front yard space that was once home to beach tarantulas, rocks, and debris. The garden took shape little by little. Soon her neighbors began donating - often anonymously - soil, flowers, and plants to help her garden grow.

Her expansive haven is touchable, fragrant, and a riot of vivid colors. She has created a place where children love to explore, be curious and learn along with their parents.Children of all ages are encouraged to add their own painted rocks. The day we were there, Katherine discovered several new artistic additions that pleased her greatly. One boldly creative young lady has even been named Director of the Ocean Garden.

Lots of local wildlife - bees, butterflies, and a variety of birds - find space to thrive. Katherine's efforts have qualified her space as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

The generous spirit of this garden offers a unique sense of enchantment to our community. Katherine shared touching stories with us, of how special needs children and groups from senior homes have experienced so much joy during their visits.

Redondo Beach is very privileged to have this special sanctuary in its midst, available to everyone all day, every day. I hope that you will visit soon. Find Katherine's Gratitude Garden near the corner of Opal Street and Irena Avenue. It's waiting to welcome you.