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Quarried Catalina stones can be seen in the reinforced concrete construction -- the facade having been sandblasted to hide the cement and highlight the native crushed stones. The blue flagstone rock on the ramps and terraces comes from Little Harbor, on Catalina's "back" side. And the red roof tiles and all the colorful handmade glazed tiles used for finishing came from the Catalina Pottery plant, which was in operation from 1927 to 1937. The marble inside the tower was quarried in Georgia.
The idea for a garden came from Mr. Wrigley's wife, Ada. In 1935, she supervised Pasadena horticulturalist Albert Conrad, who planted the original Desert Plant Collection. Catalina Island's temperate marine climate made it possible to showcase plants from every corner of the earth.
In 1969, the Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation expanded and revitalized the garden's 37.85 acres. Along with the new plants came a new attitude. In the same way that the Wrigley Memorial uses primarily native building materials, the Garden places a special emphasis on California island endemic plants. (Plants, which grow naturally on one or more of the California islands, but nowhere else in the world.) Many of these plants are extremely rare, and some are on the Endangered Species list.
The Memorial Garden is particularly concerned with the six Catalina endemics - plants, which grow naturally only on Catalina Island. The Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation maintains a special interest in the preservation of all Catalina endemics, including the rare Catalina Ironwood.