Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Legos, Succulents & a Wednesday Vignette

What could Legos, succulents and a Wednesday Vignette possibly share in common?  Well, they all came together in a visit to the South Coast Botanic Garden earlier this week.  The botanic garden is sponsoring a nature-themed Lego exhibit.  Seeking to avoid visiting the garden when there might be hoards of children towing parents, my husband and I paid a visit early on a Monday morning.  We had the garden almost to ourselves - that is, if you discount the presence of a TV crew filming an episode of Scorpion, which my husband described to me as a "nerds save the world" series.

The Lego exhibits were scattered all over the garden, which spans 87 acres.  Of the 15 exhibits, we found 13.  It turns out that Lego sculptures aren't particularly easy to photograph so I'll show you only a few of my favorites.  In addition to these there was a butterfly, a dragonfly, goldfinches at a feeder, a koi fish, a lawnmower, lily pads with a frog and a flower, an orchid, and a rose.  Each exhibit was accompanied by a informational placard.

The bee stood sentry near the entrance

The bison (complete with a bird on its back) and its calf were my favorites and the largest of the exhibits we saw, comprised of 61,372 Legos in total

One can hope the rabbit might escape the fox here (although the placard showed a photo of a real fox with a real rabbit in its jaws)

The gardener is inexplicably hoeing rocks but he did have a nice backdrop in the succulent garden

The hummingbird, consisting of 31,555 Legos, is shown in most of the exhibit's promotional materials


The best part of the exhibit was that it provided an excuse to spend a few hours in the garden.  I've posted on the garden before (see photos of my spring 2014 visit here) but, each time, I see something different.  It's not The Huntington by any means but it's still a nice place to visit and just 5 miles from home as the crow flies.  The highlights of Monday's visit include lots and lots of succulents.

The cat's tail aloe (Aloe castanea) at top was hard to miss in full bloom.  Bottom row, left to right: Aloe cryptpoda x arborescens, A. maculata?, and A. marlothii.

Clockwise from upper left: Kalanchoe beharensis in full bloom, Agave potatorum?, Beschorneria yuccoides with bloom spikes, Euphorbia ammak, Euphorbia xanti in bloom, and Stenocereus griseus (with wild lupine)


The trees were putting on a good show too.

Clockwise from top left: Cercis canadensis, a noID flowering fruit tree (possibly apricot), Prunus serrulata, and a noID pine

The trumpet trees, formerly classified as Tabebuia but most recently reclassified as Handroanthos, were in glorious color.  (See Hoover Boo's post on these trees at Piece of Eden.)  From right to left are: H. impetiginosus, H. chrysostricha (next to a coral tree), and H. chrysostricha x impeteginosus.

I might have missed this tree if my husband hadn't plunked down on the bench beneath it.  This is Kigelia africana, also known as the sausage tree.


I didn't take too many other garden photos but a couple of shrubs stood out.

A beautiful noID Ceanothus grown as Ceanothus should be grown (unlike the sad specimens I inherited with my own garden, which are shorn mercilessly to maintain them as hedges)

This is a new-to-me Salvia.  I couldn't find a label but my best guess based on an on-line search is that its Salvia africana-lutea.  Those flower clusters were huge and just a little scary.


And, finally, there's the photo that represents my contribution to the Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna of Flutter & Hum:

This western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) was nearly invisible of the trunk of the giant Yucca elephantipes which forms the centerpiece of South Coast Botanic Garden's succulent section


Best wishes for a great week in your own garden!


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking us along to see all these beautiful plants. I loved the Lego art, too! -Jean

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the journey, Jean!

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  2. Must have been a fun visit! Your pictures have me hoping I can find some of the less common Aloe varieties... just love these! And somehow I sympathize with that rock-hoeing gardener, having today found myself hacking away blindly at woody weeds growing in a lot of rock, notches on my good pruners...!

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    1. You may want to check an on-line source like Arid Lands Nursery to see what aloes are available to handle your winter low temperatures, Amy.

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  3. Everyone hoes rocks right? Great shots though, especially of the plants! Do you know what the flowering thing is behind the fox and (poor) rabbit?

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    1. Assuming that you're referring to the orange-flowered plants, they're Clivia minuta, which are very popular shade plants here.

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  4. What a fun adventure! Can totally see why it was named Cat tail Aloe. My cat's tail looks just like one of those flowers - even the color is right! Wonder how long it took the Lego artists to build those animals... They brought back memories of long stretches of Lego construction with the kids!

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    1. I loved that cat's tail aloe, which I'd never noticed before. The on-line photos I viewed weren't nearly as dramatic.

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  5. My little nephew did Legos for a while--mostly dioramas of WWII battles (?!?). Those are quite impressive, the bee especially. Legoland has some pieces of full-sized animals hidden what is quite a great garden--perfect climate down there. Being a gardener, I was pulling for the fox, not the rabbit.

    Thanks for the "visit"!

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    1. I'm afraid that early exposure to the movie 'Bambi' makes me think protectively of Thumper every time I see a rabbit. However, if Thumper and friends regularly chowed down on my garden plants, I expect it'd override that mindset.

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  6. 20 years ago this would have been the perfect place to take my boys. We made some awesome lighthouses out of Lego. I need to catch up with that Aloe castanea while it's still in bloom. What a nice little bot. garden to have in your backyard!

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    1. I know that Legos were around even when I was a kid but as a "construction" toy, I guess my mother never saw fit them to buy them for her girl-child. Too bad - it might have improved my poor space relations skills!

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  7. the salvia, bruinsalie or strandsalie is particularly beautiful when the flowers fade and fall. The calyx remains bronze and burnished for a long time. Love that plant!

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    1. http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantqrs/salviaafricanlut.htm

      and nectar for our sunbirds, or your hummers

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    2. The botanic garden has a spring plant sale next month so I'll be on the look-out for the plant. I've never seen it offered in our local garden centers.

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  8. Wow, gorgeous blooming plants all over - the Legos were a fun exhibit I expect. That Agave potatorum was very cool-looking!

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    1. I'm guessing that's what the agave was - the tag was buried beneath the plant.

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  9. The legos are fun! Thanks for sharing your visit!

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  10. What awesome lego bee!
    Amazing beautiful flowering in the trees.
    Have a nice day
    Mariana

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    1. The botanic garden has its cherry blossom festival scheduled for tomorrow - not a moment too soon!

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  11. Always nice to have an excuse to visit a garden; presumably it was done to encourage children to visit - never a bad thing although I imagine they would ONLY see the Lego. That Salvia is amazing, would you consider growing it?

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    1. Our assumption was that the Legos event was directed primarily at children - I imagined the parking lot full of school buses filled with them. But on the morning we were there, there were almost no children to be seen and, with the exhibits scattered over a very large property, I'm not sure most schoolchildren (or their teachers) would have the stamina to cover the whole space.

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  12. How fun! I grew up with Lego, being Norwegian, and passed the love of it onto my son. I have wondered about getting some sort of statue or art for my garden. Perhaps a Lego figure? I know they glue them so they became sturdier, and have metalwork inside. Fun idea! Loved the lizard :-)

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    1. The Legos were fun but I'm not sure how well they'd stand the test of time in your garden - although they probably are weather-proof!

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  13. So many choice plants and those lego sculptures are amazing! Excellent shot of the lizard on the yucca bark!

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    1. That lizard was remarkably difficult to see through the lens of my little point-and-click camera!

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