Friday, January 19, 2018

What's up at South Coast Botanic Garden?

Curious to determine the status of the new rose garden at South Coast Botanic Garden and finding nothing on the garden's webpage or in its weekly newsletters, I decided to drop by and check things out for myself.  The garden is about 5 miles from my home and factors into my commute at least a couple of times each week so it wasn't hard to fit a visit into my schedule.

The rose garden's been under construction since last June at least and was originally targeted for completion in the fall.  The last time I dropped by in late December, it looked as though it was nearly finished but, as it turns out, it's still a work in progress.

The hardscaping appears to be complete but the area is not open to visitor traffic.  I asked a worker if he knew when the garden would be open and he indicated it would probably be sometime in April.

This is the center of the new garden looking down from a viewing platform

There's a rose-inspired metal railing with a fountain below

View to the right: there were at least 3 of the pergola structures, presumably geared to wedding ceremonies

View to the left: workers are still preparing beds and planting out roses


With the visit to the rose garden a bust, I took a wider look around.  I didn't bother to check the lake, which has been drained for some time now, but there were pretty flowers here and there.



However, the desert garden stood out as the most impressive at the moment.








The Alluaudia procera (left), aka Madagascar Ocotillo, always fascinates me.  I was also drawn to the variegated Agave vilmoriniana (upper right, aka 'Stained Glass').  Aloe arborescens (lower right) was in bloom throughout the desert garden.

The desert garden is expanding.  It seems that it's at least doubling in size but I couldn't find anything on the garden's webpage with a status or details of its development plan.


While my visit was relatively brief, I didn't leave without checking out the nursery area surrounding the gift shop.  And, as the plants are always a deal, especially with my member discount, I didn't go home empty-handed.

My purchases (left to right): Agave deserti, Crassula falcata, and Aloe striata x maculata.  My total was less than $22 with tax!


Three new plants isn't a bad way to get the weekend off to a good start.  I hope you find some treasures to take home this weekend too.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. That rose garden is going to be fabulous when it's done! Is this the botanical garden that we visited a couple of years ago? The desert area is looking wonderful. Those are some nice plants for less than $22. I recently received a rewards coupon for $10 off from Watson's, but it isn't valid until the 20th (tomorrow), so I'm trying to be disciplined and wait until then to use it.

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    1. Yes, it's the same garden we visited, Alison. I'm not a rose aficionado but I am looking forward to strolling that rose garden - if it ever gets done.

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  2. Wow, lots going on. That gift shop always has sweet deals on plants. Wish I had brought home the 'Huasteca Giant' agave when I saw it on the shelves.

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    1. The odd thing about SCBG is that their website is amazingly devoid of factual information. I was frustrated to see nothing official on the rose garden opening, nor plans for the expanded desert garden or the lake area. Even the page that is supposed to detail area closures contains no information on the areas currently closed.

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  3. What a timely post! I'm working on my own post about the SCBG, and your photos are the perfect complement since I focused on the cactus garden (and the light was very flat when you and I were there three weeks ago).

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    1. I was really curious to see where things stood with that rose garden in that it looked nearly done when we visited in late December. As roses aren't much to look at in January (except in Hoover Boo's garden!), I expect SCBG is holding off its grand opening until the plants get their bloom on. However, it's crazy making that they've offered no details on the desert garden expansion whatsoever (or refilling the lake, for that matter).

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  4. I’m sorry, was there something about a rose garden? That desert garden stole my eye. Nice purchases too...

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    1. Flower freak that I am, I admire roses but they've never been a focus for me either; however, SCBG has invested a lot of money and time in the new space so I've been interested in walking the area. I think the garden sees it as a major (wedding venue) revenue generator. Given the major expansion of the desert/succulent garden, it appears that's a major emphasis too but, if they've communicated details of their plans, I've missed them. Maybe I should attend those annual member meetings...

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  5. Beautiful gardens - so nice to have a resource like that nearby. And a plant score, too, you must be a happy camper!

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    1. That botanic garden has had its ups and downs but still, as it started out as a landfill in the 1960s, it's come a long way!

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  6. Oh my, that will definitely be on my list of things to see next time I'm out there. The rose garden looks like it's going to be awesome, and the other sections are great, too!

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    1. Beth, if your travels take you this way, I hope you'll let me know. I'd be glad of a chance to meet up.

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  7. That Agave deserti really catches my eye - it looks wonderful. Your photos of the desert garden are quite inspiring if a bit maddening with all those flowering aloes. The rabbits have taken out all but one of mine :( Fortunately they've mostly left A. striata "Ghost" alone; it's getting fairly bulky. I'm wondering whether I would have better luck if I started with bigger plants... Any thoughts?

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    1. I don't have any experience with rabbits, Amy. Although they're plentiful in a park nearby, I've never seen one here so I'm guessing that the coyotes keep them corralled. But I'd think that taller aloes, like Aloe arborescens, should be safe. Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden has rabbit issues and I know she safeguards many of her young plants with temporary wire cages. Not pretty perhaps but it could get you through the vulnerable period.

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  8. The rose garden is going to be impressive when it's finished. The desert garden is most impressive now, as you said! So many different heights, shapes, colors and textures and so many happy-looking mature specimens.

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    1. Desert/succulent gardens are often at their best during the winter months when the aloes bloom, sweetbay. This one wasn't looking its best back in December but I think part of that was that they had barriers up to protect it from the work being done right next door in the rose garden.

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  9. The desert garden is looking impressive. The succulents are inviting, but those spiky cacti are not very suitable for our gardens, are they? It will be interesting to see the bot gardens evolve.

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    1. I was wary of the spiky species of succulents at first here but you'd be surprised just how many I have, Sue. Your do have to be careful in siting them, though, especially as many of the agaves can get big. I've steered clear of the succulents with glochids, however - they're sneaky and a bit vicious.

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  10. Wow! I really needed that infusion of color not to mention the gorgeous new design and structures in the rose garden. That garden is a new one to me. What I missed when I lived there although it was 30 years ago. Are you sure it wasn't an excuse to go shopping!!!! Who can resist dropping by the garden shop when visiting a garden. I know I can't. What bargains.

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    1. Ground wasn't broken on this botanic garden until the 1960s and I think it took decades before it became known outside the South Bay area, Jenny. I can't recall my first visit anymore but it was probably the late 1990s. And plant shopping is ALWAYS on the agenda when I visit!

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  11. The dessert garden looks amazing; proving that when you put the right plants together, it doesn't matter what they are they will be pleasing. I'm almost at the point of deciding I will create a very small area with succulents and Agave; the ones I have have been outside in pots for two winters so I'm going to take the risk of putting them in the ground.

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    1. I know your winters are colder than mine, Christina, but gardeners in the Pacific Northwest who regularly get snow have had success with growing a number of agaves in the ground (although they also haul more sensitive species under cover). I hope your experiment works!

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  12. The desert garden is fabulous. After so many years of California drought, I've grown to love succulents more and more.

    As for the gate/fence: I'm fantasizing about what that might look like in my garden. A gal can dream, eh?

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    1. I was pretty impressed with that fancy rose garden fence too, Alys. As to succulents, I didn't go head-over-heels for them until we moved into our current garden 7 years ago but now I'd estimate they account for 15-20% of my garden.

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  13. The SCB is looking more cared for--that's great! Public gardens matter.

    You got some great plants, too.

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    1. SCBG is still a mixed bag, HB. They clearly invested a LOT in the rose garden, probably in anticipation of a return in terms of wedding bookings. I can't say where they're going with the desert garden expansion or the lake area.

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  14. Kris,
    Thanks so much for visiting and posting about your experience at South Coast Botanic Garden! The Rose Garden is, indeed, a work in progress and we are almost done. We've got a few more plants to go in the ground and we are waiting for the DG to stabilize a bit. While the garden itself is open intermittently (depending on rain, work schedule, and such) it will be fully open and blooming this April. I'd be happy to provide you with a special tour sometime, just drop me a note. info@scbgf.org best, Danielle Lacharite Brown Chief Development Officer

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    1. Thanks for your note and the offer, Danielle! I'll contact you if I have an opportunity to arrange a visit before April.

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