I admit I haven't been to the Los Angeles County Arboretum
in many years. Fifty miles to the east of my current residence, getting there takes more than an hour and requires navigation of 4 freeways. However, enticed by notice of a fall plant sale, I convinced my husband to join me in a visit on a hot, dry October day. We arrived a little over an hour after the garden opened. Maybe a lot of sale plants moved out the door during that first hour but I was disappointed by both the volume and range of plants available as I remembered more robust plant sales in the past (although conceivably, those were held in the spring).
|I think the stock at my local botanic garden's recent sale was larger and more varied, although I still managed to pick up a Salvia 'Bee's Bliss', which I'd had on my wish list, and several small succulents|
Having made the drive, we weren't about to pack up and immediately head for home so we weathered the heat and began exploring.
|I think this is another Silk Floss Tree (Ceiba speciosa), like those I showed in a recent post on the South Coast Botanic Garden near me. Both gardens are operated by Los Angeles County and many of SCBG's plants came from the Arboretum.|
|From the entrance area, we wandered into the Prehistoric Forest, which featured many mature cycads|
|The forest sits adjacent to Baldwin Lake, which is slated for restoration. The dragon is part of a "Moonlight Forest" event scheduled to kick off on October 26th and continue through January 6th.|
|While the dragon and his pals are temporary, there were also plenty of regular lake denizens on hand|
Our next stop was Crescent Farm
, created by the Arboretum a few years ago to help Southern California residents reimagine their landscapes, saving precious water in the process.
|I was intrigued by the Farm's motto: "Water is our Crop." The farm's guidelines for reinventing landscapes for the drier future we face included many of my own areas of emphasis: use climate-adapted plants; build soil to retain moisture; Irrigate efficiently; and capture rainwater. The Farm also promotes the use of edible plants from arid climates.|
|The Farm was constructed using sheet mulching, hugelkultur, and swales to collect and direct water|
|There were a lot of signs to gently prod people to think differently about their own gardens|
As temperatures continued to rise, we headed into the African and Australian Gardens. Signs pointed out that South Africa and parts of Australia have Mediterranean climates like much of Southern California, suggesting the value of using plants from these areas of the world in our own landscapes.
|Cordyline and Xanthorrhoea (aka Australian Grass Tree)|
As we rounded back in the direction of the botanic garden's entrance, we stopped by the Tropical Greenhouse, which was probably my favorite part of the garden, at least at this time of year. By contrast with the hot, dry conditions outside, the humid space was also far more pleasant! I took a lot of photos there, some of which I previously posted in Instagram. (Now seems as good a time as any to mention that I finally succumbed to the lure of Instagram and set up an account in July, which you can find here
While we were in the greenhouse a large family came through, some of the children talking excitedly of peacocks. I ran into the first of many of those soon after we left the greenhouse.
|As much as I tried, I was unable to encourage this fellow to flash his tail|
|Further proof that peacocks don't do what they're asked! Glare made the sign hard to read from my photo but it says "Please do not climb on fountain." (This photo is my Wednesday Vignette. For others, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.)|
The Arboretum is worth a visit, although I recommend selecting cooler conditions. I appreciated the emphasis on educating the public and its recognition of the need to adapt to the demands of a changing climate.
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party