Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fall at South Coast Botanic Garden

A meeting brought me to South Coast Botanic Garden on Monday morning and, after it was over, I decided to take a spin through the garden to see what's going on as I haven't conducted a tour since August.  Although the new school year has started, there hasn't been the demand for docents there was earlier in the year.

The Floss Silk Trees (Ceiba speciosa) immediately command your attention.  They're all in glorious bloom.

This is the tree near the front entrance, captured from 2 angles.  Its floral color was echoed in the Salvia shown in the shot on the right.

Another specimen, with more unusual flower color


There was also more in bloom in the Volunteer Garden than I'd have expected after a hot, dry summer.

I wish I could grow asters like this!  I'm unsure of the species.  I suspect this section of the botanic garden gets watered more than my garden does.

The Japanese anemones (Anemone hupensis var. japonica) also grow well there

And this Senna bicapsularis, grown as a tree, looks so much better than my own

Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculata), which I tried growing once

Queen Ann's Wreath or coral vine (Antignon leptopus) growing over a garden service building


Butterflies were flitting about wherever I went.  Gulf Fritillary and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies seemed to be the most common.  I usually have tremendous difficulty getting decent photos of any butterfly but the Gulf Fritillaries in particular couldn't stay away from the Tithonia (aka Mexican sunflower or torch flower) in bloom near the vegetable garden and, for once, they didn't seem to object to my presence.


Gulf Fritillary on the left and Monarch (photographed from a greater distance) on the right


Behind the vegetable garden, two men were hard at work creating a new vertical garden.

What looks like a roof on the succulent wall is the structure behind it where the garden's tram is kept

I'm not sure when the wall is scheduled to be completed but they were making good progress Monday morning


I walked deeper into the garden past the dry lake bed.  It's been cleaned up since I last passed through that area.

The lake has been empty for a long time.  The liner beneath it decayed and it was no longer cost effective to fill it during our long drought.  I've been told that 40 fewer bird species have been sighted in the garden since the lake was drained.  However, there's a project afoot to restore it and the creek that feeds it.  The area had been cleaned up since I last saw it a month ago.


There are still a lot of roses in bloom but I only strolled the perimeter.

This florabunda, used to line the rose garden's entrance, is 'Sparkle & Shine'


On my way out I admired the Salvia leucantha in bloom across from the Desert Garden.

There was a larger mass of Salvia leucantha (aka Mexican bush sage) near the Mediterranean garden but I didn't get a photo


Overall, the garden looked refreshed after last weekend's rain.  The birds and butterflies were happy, the sun was shining, and the air was clean - everything seemed right in this little corner of the world.


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

30 comments:

  1. That vertical wall is going to be impressive! Nice shots of the butterflies.

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    1. The vertical wall is a nice addition to the garden. I'll be interesting to see how it holds up over time.

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  2. Beautiful pictures Kris, I love Monarch butterflies but they are hard to photograph!

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    1. I tried to take a photo of a very patient cloudless sulphur butterfly too but my camera just refused to focus!

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  3. So nice of the butterflies to pose for you! Great shots of this lovely garden & I love the pattern of the vertical wall. You get to go to meetings in much more interesting places than I!

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    1. It was a garden docent meeting, hence the choice of site. If you ever retire, Peter, I suspect you could attach yourself to any number of wonderful gardens.

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  4. I love the rambunctious coral vine and grew it many years ago. That senna looks great trained as a small tree. The SCBG is looking good!

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    1. I wish I'd given my Senna the space to grow in a tree shape. The Mediterranean Garden looked somewhat worn. They need to add some South African Leucadendrons and Australian Grevilleas to give that area more year-round appeal.

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    2. Their Senna has been beautifully pruned to a perfect hemisphere <3

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    3. I'm just impressed they gave it the right amount of room to grow properly, Diana. My poor plant is slammed up against a fence!

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  5. A nice spot - I love the vertical garden. It ought to be gorgeous when it fills in.

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    1. The workmen carried out multiple flats of succulents even as I watched. I expect they'll need a lot more before they're done, Eliza.

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  6. A fun walk in a beautiful garden. It looks wonderful and nice to hear you've had enough rain to refresh gardens in your area.

    You got some nice butterfly shots even if they were a bit uncooperative.

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    1. My brother says I just need to be more patient when photographing butterflies - and birds, and squirrels...

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  7. Lovely! I've always enjoyed Jewels of Opar--so delicate and interesting. The Floss Silk trees are stunning! And how fun to have butterflies visiting the Mexican Sunflowers! :)

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    1. I've seen Jewels of Opar in 2 SoCal public gardens now but I've only found the plants in a local garden center once. I just ordered some on-line, though!

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  8. In times like these finding a corner of the world where all is right is no small achievement! Love that green wall, the pattern is fabulous.

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    1. Sadly, that's so true, Loree. And at the same time, we need those corners all the more.

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  9. I’m a big fan of green walls and the one you’ve posted here is wonderful. I love the pattern. It will look stunning when it’s finished.

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    1. I'm looking forward to its completion too, Jane!

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  10. What a treat, such glorious flowers, how wonderful to have such beauties in October. If I could take just one thing home with me it would be the coral vine. Oh and the gorgeous butterflies.

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    1. Yes, that vine had me wondering if I had a sunny space somewhere where one could climb with abandon. I think I'd be afraid to position it next to my lath house.

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  11. The info about the lake/birds is rather shocking.

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    1. It disturbed me too when I heard about the loss of wildlife associated with draining the lake, Linda. I have fond memories of sitting across from it with my mother-in-law, who was an avid birder. Even some of the smaller visitors that come with school tours remember the lake and ask about it. We're hoping the garden develops a sustainable replacement within the next several years.

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  12. This place is amazing ! Of course the colors are killing me, unlike here in zone 7a. Wondering about the coral vine and if it would work in my garden, it would have to be low maintenance for my energy level.

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    1. That vine has an eye popping color, Pat. Never having grown it myself, I've no idea what's involved in maintaining it, although my own experience with vines is that generally it's all about controlling their exuberance.

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  13. So many beautiful views and plants. I really like that Senna shrub - very pretty. And, I''m excited to see the the process of creating a green wall. It already looks beautiful. Your very last sentence made me happy!
    ~ Anna K

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    1. I can't stop thinking how good that Senna looks, Anna. I think I need to find another one and plant it where it can shine like that one.

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  14. There is one of those vines in the neighborhood and I always think I should stop and get a photo. It seems to vanish in the winter and reappear in warm weather.

    Dazzzling Ceibas, but that huge succulent wall is eyepopping! Have they gotten better budget lately? That beast would not be cheap.

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    1. I can't claim any inside knowledge of the garden's finances but I've heard via the grapevine that the garden has a solid pocketbook but, until recently, didn't have management in place with a plan about how best to use it. There's a lot in the queue but it looks to me that they're focusing on work with long-term revenue-generating benefits.

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