Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring Wanderlust - Part 2


Did the recent nursery expeditions described in yesterday's post, Spring Wanderlust-Part 1, put an end to my plant shopaholism?  I had thought they had when I attended the South Coast Botanic Garden's Spring Plant Sale this past weekend.  I didn't plan to buy anything but I thought my friend would like the sale, which features reasonably priced plants grown by volunteers working for the botanic garden, as well a few local nurseries and the Palos Verdes Nature Conservancy.  As a member, I can get into the sale before it opens to the public and I receive a discount on my purchases.  

The tables weren't as crowded with plants as was the case with the fall sale but there was still a lot available

Some of the native plants offered by the Palos Verdes Nature Conservancy

One of the many displays stocked by local nurseries



However, just as an alcoholic is advised not to visit bars, a plant-a-holic should avoid plant sales.

3 of the 4 plants I took home: Salvia discolor (which I'd sought unsuccessfully last year), Melianthus major, and Scabiosa ochroleuca (Not shown: Agave vilmoriniana, purchased in a 3-gallon pot for $12!)



After lunch, my friend and I visited Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach.  Denise of A Growing Obsession wrote about her visit a couple of months back and my friend and I been talking of going there ever since we read her post.  The well-tended home and garden, built in the 1800s, is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The area was originally settled by the Tongva tribe of Native Americans around 500AD.  Interestingly, the Rancho now sits in the middle of a gated community of homes.  

Houses across the street from Rancho Los Alamitos



There were almost as many docents as visitors when we visited but we took off on a self-guided tour of the 7-acre property.

Lady Banks rose espaliered along entrance to the rose garden

Formal rose garden

I think this area is was identified as the Oleander Walk

Bad photo of butterfly (Mourning Cloak?) on Echium - there were dozens of these butterflies flitting throughout the garden

This was called the Friendly Garden

Very large, and presumably very old, California pepper tree

Jacaranda Walk long the tennis court - unfortunately, the Jacarandas won't be in bloom for awhile longer yet

Entry into the cactus garden, which covered a large area of the estate







View of 2 large Moreton Bay fig trees outside the house's screened patio

Massive roots that characterize Moreton Bay figs

Front of the house leading to the central courtyard

Interior courtyard


Plaque outside what I believe was referred to as the "secret garden"


Barn


Old farm equipment

Gift shop


Crow fountain on sale at gift shop



I have to say that I really liked the crow fountain in the photograph above but it did not come home with me.  However, we had a nice chat with the docent running the shop.

Rancho Los Alamitos, only about 30 minutes from my home by freeway is definitely worth a return visit.

14 comments:

  1. Kris, love your tour of Rancho Los Alamitos, the formal walks, and the more informal cactus garden. Like the use of the common Agave attenuata en masse as a border. Like the massive old trees. What a local treasure often overlooked.

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    1. I was impressed by the massed Agave attenuata too, Jane. I have some but seeing those at RLA made me think more about the wisdom of reducing my plant palette and using more massed (and drought tolerant) specimens like those.

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  2. Rancho Los Alamitos is a beautiful place full of wonderful plants! Ah California... Thanks for the virtual tour! Sounds like you and your friend had a good sale. Plant addiction is fun, right? Really, who needs to pay the mortgage? We can always live in our cars full of special plants, right?

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    1. I always said I wanted 2 acres of land, although when I finally moved up from a tiny plot to 1/2 an acre I was overwhelmed. However, at my current pace of plant collection, that 2 acres is starting to sound good again. Of course, my physical stamina and pocketbook will probably give out before the acreage becomes a problem...

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  3. Oh la la, plant sale then a visit to a gorgeous garden, a winning combo! They certainly have loads of amazing specimens there. And I can just imagine how well that Melianthus major will do in your garden :)

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    1. I think I've found a good place for the Melianthus - now I just have to wait for our temps to come down from the atmospheric heights they reached earlier this week to plant.

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  4. I bought two Melianthus last year, but I fear neither one survived our winter. What a fun way to spend time with a friend. I love that shot of the Moreton Bay fig roots.

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    1. I saw my 1st Moreton Bay fig on my Tongva Park visit last year. It's one impressive tree but probably not manageable in anything other than a park or a 7-acre estate, unfortunately.

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  5. Excellent adventure! Thank you for the reminder I need to keep an eye out for Salvia discolor at our local plant sale this weekend.

    The last time we flew into L.A. it was Memorial Day weekend and there were seemingly a gazillion Jacaranda in full bloom. Looking down on the city entire swaths were purple, it was fabulous.

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    1. Your Salvia discolor post last year is what set me on my quest, Loree. The Jacarandas here are beautiful when they come into bloom (seemingly all at once). It is a messy tree best appreciate in a neighbor's yard, though I'd argue that it doesn't have anything on Albizia julibrisson.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your visit to Rancho Los Alamitos; what a beautiful place, I'm not a huge fan of cactus but when they're planted like this who couldn't love them - perfect. I grew seeds of Melianthus major for a friend but still don't have any here, which is very silly as it would grow well here as I'm sure it will for you.

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    1. I hope the Melianthus will do well, Christina - I love those pleated leaves!

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  7. Kris, I'm so glad you both visited the rancho. Wonderful photos of your visit. I've got to check in again to see if the noisettes are in bloom, if they're even still there. I almost went to that plant sale but had too much work over the weekend. The succulent sale is the 12th so I'm hoping to make it to that sale.

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    1. Thanks for jolting us to the fact we had such a great garden only 30 minutes away, Denise!

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