Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring at the South Coast Botanic Garden

I've paid a few visits to the South Coast Botanic Garden of late, most recently at the end of March for the garden's spring plant sale.  The garden is undergoing major renovations so I didn't wander far beyond the Volunteer and Desert Gardens but I snapped some photos, which I thought I'd share with you in what's becoming an ongoing ode to spring.

The Wisteria is in bloom in the Japanese Garden near the front entrance.

In addition to the Wisteria, note the impressive Holly Leaf Cycad (Encephalartos ferox) on the left


The Volunteer Garden had lots of color, although I fixated on a huge Echium candicans.

The area surrounding the Echium (aka Pride of Madeira) was punctuated with Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)

The same Echium can be seen in the background here, fronted with Euphorbia

This is the garden's Mexican Tree Marigold (Tithonia diversifolia, aka Bolivian Sunflower), which it appears the garden cuts WAY back each year

Here are photos of the Mexican Tree Marigold I took last July for reference

I can't entirely explain why but I really liked this particular mash-up, which includes a huge artichoke, Echeverias, Limonium perezii, and Kalanchoe


The Rose Garden next to the Desert Garden is one of the areas undergoing a complete renovation and there was a lot of construction activity so I spent less time there than I usually do.

California poppies and lupine peppered the succulent beds

Succulent Euphorbia xanti surprises me every time I come across one in spring covered in small pink flowers

This Pseudobombax ellipticum (aka Shaving Brush Tree) was just beginning to bloom but the bees were already swarming the flowers

I'm not usually excited by bottlebrush trees, having grown up surrounded by them, but this one looked stately and I loved the way the bed was bordered with succulents.  The huge Callistemon did a pretty good job screening the construction crew vehicles too.


Even the parking lot was colorful.

I hope my Aloe striata look this good one day

Handroanthus impetiginosus (formerly Tabebuia impetignosa, aka pink trumpet tree and pink ipe)


The Cactus & Succulent Society is holding its annual show and sale at the garden this weekend so I'll be back there again tomorrow.  There's a chance of rain, though, so I may not do any wandering in the garden proper but I'm sure I'll be back again soon - it's only about 5 miles from home as the crow flies.

Enjoy your weekend!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. That cycad in your first picture caught my eye immediately. How gorgeous are those cones? Thanks for sharing so many beautiful shots. Are Spanish bluebells well behaved in your climate? Here they take over and are nearly impossible to eradicate.

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    1. Re the Spanish bluebells, I can only speak for my own sparsely irrigated garden, Peter. I planted lots of these bulbs this first year we were here but almost all of them are gone, presumably dried up in the drought. Despite our heavier-than-normal (even pre-drought) winter rains, they didn't come back either. I've seen only one bluebell flower this spring and it was a little thing. The botanic garden probably waters more heavily than I do.

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  2. Lovely, I did enjoy this. How amazing that the pink frothy thing is a Euphorbia, it looks just like a gypsophila. The pink trumpet tree is divine.

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    1. That Euphorbia is amazing. I can't even recall what it looks like without its floral robe - I only notice the plant when it's in bloom.

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  3. So much cool stuff. Thanks for sharing your visit. I agree that the combo of the Limonium, Kalanchoe and artichoke is a looker!

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    1. I think the key thing about the artichoke combo for me was that the large Echeveria (noID) look a lot like artichokes themselves.

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  4. So many wonderful plants. Spring 'in the desert' is spectacular!

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    1. Add a little rain (or, more truthfully, robust winter rains) and even the desert-like segments of the botanic garden spring to life with lupines and poppies. Now why can't I get lupines to establish in my own garden? At least the California poppies cooperated (to an extent) this year.

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  5. The wisteria is a picture. I have the same experience as Peter with the Spanish bluebells. They also hybridise easily with our native English ones, threatening the species. I am in constant seek and kill mode at this time of year.

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    1. I remember you and other UK bloggers mentioning the aggressive behavior of the Spanish bluebells, Jessica. They're prolific at the botanic garden too. Although I'm only 5 miles from the botanic garden and our climate is identical, I suspect the amount of water the bulbs receive is the key difference as to why the SCBG has many while all but one of mine have disappeared - in this case, I can't blame my usual suspects, the raccoons, for the disappearance as the botanic garden is also rife with those creatures.

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  6. What a surprise to hear about a garden in LA that I have never heard of. Thank you for the delightful scenes you shared with us. The shaving brush tree? Now I have never heard of that either. Such an interesting flower and easy to see how it came by its name.

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    1. The South Coast Botanic Garden has nothing on the Huntington but it has aspirations, Jenny! It covers 87 acres and was originally the site of a mining operation, then a sanitary landfill. It was acquired as a public garden in 1961. The lake and rose garden are currently under renovation and, between the construction crews and periodic filming activities, you never know quite what to expect at the moment but it's definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. And I'm only 5 miles away as the crow flies so you could visit my garden too!

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  7. I'm glad they are getting some renovation. Hopefully that will include the parking lot, as the last time we visited, it was in rough condition.

    It is a beautiful location. Their Fuchsias are so perfect--they can never be that good here where it is hotter and drier if only by a bit.

    I can just barely barely remember it, but that used to be the local landfill for the area. My Dad would take stuff to the landfill and my sister and I would sit in the truck and watch the seagulls. There were hundreds of them there--it seemed like thousands.

    And Callistemon--I grew up with it also, and have no sense of wonder about it, which is sad, because it's a beautiful shrub. Not sad about the over-familiarity of ubiquitous Crassula ovata (Jade plant) of every old landscape or empty lot. What's the attraction there? Never figured it out.

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    1. If work on the parking lot is planned, I haven't heard about it and your recollections are on target: it's still got a lot of dips. It was a landfill for a time but I haven't seen any flocks of seagulls in the time we've been living here!

      One of the great things about gardening is that new plants seem to be continuously in development. While I can't get excited about red-flowered Callistemons or the standard jade plants of my childhood, I do love my Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' and I recently acquired a Crassula ovata 'Hummel's Sunset', which has promise.

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  8. That cycad in the Japanese garden caught my eye immediately, too. Especially juxtaposed with the wisteria. It seems like such an odd, wonderful combination, totally alien from anything we could do in the north.

    I did not grow up surrounded by tree-sized weeping callistemon, so I'll feel wonder in your place. So marvelous! It makes me a little sad when people get sick of plants, or just can't marvel at them, because they are common. Up here it's rhododendrons, pieris, conifers, and a few other plants that people tend to dismiss or outright dislike because they are everywhere. I still like them. There are plants I don't like or just don't care about, but I don't think it's because they're common.

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    1. Plants do go through ups and downs in terms of popularity and you're right that familiarity can breed contempt, Evan. What sticks in my mind about the red-flowered Callistemons was the fact that every other house in my childhood neighborhood had at least one and they always created a mess. In contrast, I LOVE my C. 'Cane's Hybrid', whether in bloom or not, and I adore the masses of Agapanthus I inherited with this garden, even though it's a plant that's widely reviled here as "ordinary." Who knows? I may eventually come around on the red-flowered Callistemon too - I have a C. pinifolius, which I bought in the hope that it'll produce green flowers but there's a 50-50 chance the flowers will be red. After more than a year in a pot, it's yet to reveal its true nature.

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  9. Your Kalanchoe looks more like our Cotyledon orbiculata.
    In my garden Kalanchoe wants a little shade.

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    1. You're probably right on the plant ID, Diana - it wouldn't be the first time I've confused Cotyledons and Kalanchoes.

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  10. You are the only one posting about the South Coast BG regularly. Thank you for that. I've never been there, but it's on my list.

    It reminds me a little (actually a lot) of the San Luis Obispo BG, which I visited last year (and really liked).

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    1. I suggest you hold your visit until work on the lake and the rose garden are completed, Gerhard. Even if those areas don't particularly interest you, the work there spills over onto other areas - the desert garden, in particular, is impacted by the work in the rose garden.

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