Friday, April 23, 2021

My first major post-vaccination excursion

Since achieving full COVID-19 vaccination status in late March, I've been to the dentist, had my eyes examined, and gotten my hair cut.  I've visited my local botanic garden and my local garden center too but then I'd done that off-and-on throughout the last year.  However, on Tuesday, I broke through several of my self-imposed pandemic restrictions to meet up with three vaccinated friends in person; toured a botanic garden approximately 50 miles from home; visited a garden center I hadn't explored in over a year; and had lunch in an outdoor restaurant.  It was a blast.

Because I spent so much time chatting with my friends while touring Sherman Gardens in Corona Del Mar, I took fewer photos than I've done in the past but I've some worth sharing.  The botanic garden is small, just 2.5 acres, but it's meticulously maintained and plant beds are refreshed several times a year so there's always something new to see.  (You can find prior posts featuring this garden here.)

We started in the Central Garden after entering via the main parking lot.

Although the area surrounding the fountain pool, featuring Ranunculus and Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppies) looked good to me, the garden is already planning to replace them after a recent burst of very warm weather

Left to right, the biggest Iceland poppy I've ever seen; the garden cat, Julius (Caesar), perhaps the biggest domestic cat I've ever seen; and a vine that looked like Mandevilla sporting flowers in a color I haven't seen before

View of a mixed flower bed outside the garden's shade structure, featuring Clarkia, Digiplexis, and Leucospermums among other plants

Another mixed bed across from the previous one, adjacent to the Tropical Conservatory

The yellow Leucospermum (left) was drawing a lot of attention from visitors but I was also drawn to the attractive Dyckia nearby (right)

This mixed bed sat on the other side of the lawn

A closer look at the Digiplexis (an intergeneric hybrid of Digitalis and Isoplexis) and an unusual white-flowered Geranium maderense

Next, we headed into the Tropical Conservatory.

The koi pond is a central feature.  You can almost always find turtles sunning themselves on that rock.

The orchid area

A few closeups from within the conservatory

We checked out a couple of vignettes outside the Tropical Conservatory.

My favorite flamingo, bedecked with Tillandsias, in a bed filled with bromeliads

A display of carnivorous plants

This knot garden on the north side of the property formerly featured roses.

There was a mix of edible plants, Violas and chartreuse-green shrubs (maybe Spiraea? Ligustrum 'Sunshine')

We passed by the Sun Garden on the way to the shade structure.

My favorite otter figure, standing on the edge of the pond partly shaded by a large Callistemon (left), is still missing the hose he used to hold.  The goddess statue that used to occupy the sunnier other end of the area (right) has also disappeared. 

I'm very fond of the garden's shade structure, which was the inspiration for my own, much smaller, lath house.  This area is all about specimen Begonias.

Other plants located inside the shade structure include, clockwise from the upper left, a yellow-flowered Clivia, a pelican surrounded by assorted bromeliads, a collection of Peperomias, and a Rhododendeon

This noID plant momentarily drew us up short with the unfolding leaf (right) that almost looked like a flower. UPDATE: Identified by commentator as Ficus dammaropsis.

Heading in the direction of the Tea Garden, I admired the paper umbrellas hung under the arbor.

I was captivated by the way the filtered light under the arbor looked like rain.  My photo doesn't do the light effect justice.  Unfortunately, I'd elected to carry my small, lightweight Canon rather than my DSLR camera.

A wider view of the arbor, decorated with colorful paper umbrellas, and the shade beds surrounding the Tea Garden

Cyclamen, Heuchera, Nemesia, Peperomia and Pericallis (aka Cineraria) were planted here along with Camellias

As usual, I focused on the Succulent Garden to a greater extent than the many of the other areas, even though it arguably changes less from visit to visit.

View of the tree-sized Euphorbias and barrel cactus

A beautifully backlit bromeliad fronted by an artistic succulent display

Agaves, Aloes and bromeliads - oh my!

One of the most interesting plants here is the groundcover-like plant, which I think is Deuterocohnia brevifolia, a mat-forming bromeliad

I was drawn in by the Euphorbia polygona in this area

The best-looking Dudleya I've ever seen

Heading back to the parking lot for the next leg of excursion, I snapped a couple quick photos in the Fern Grotto.


Then we were off to Roger's Gardens to do a little shopping and have lunch at the Farmhouse restaurant onsite.  I only bought a few plants but I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to chat casually with friends in person in the open-air setting.  For the first time in more than a year, life felt a little bit more normal.

Best wishes for a pleasant weekend!


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party  


30 comments:

  1. What a lovely garden. I like it so much, I wish I could see it in person. Also, congratulations on getting out with vaccinated friends. I just did the same thing for the first time on Thursday.--Went with a few fellow Master Gardeners to tour a 20-acre property that was mined and is now being ecologically restored. I didn't realize just how much I missed being in an informal group of fellow gardeners while not having to worry about COVID. Thanks again, Laura.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that you also enjoyed a post-vaccination excursion, Laura. The area that is now a local 87-acre botanic garden was mined decades ago for diatomaceous rock before being turned into a sanitary landfill. Work to transform it into a botanic garden started some sixty years ago and remains ongoing.

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  2. A fabulous and much deserved outing. Sounds like you had a great time in this magnificent garden. I'm remember that salivating over that wood Pelican before. Still am. The arbor with the paper umbrellas is so inviting.
    The 'river' of succulents in photo 23 reminded me of your relatively newly planted slope.

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    1. I've thought about adding decorative rock to one of my succulent beds but I don't think I possess the artistry - or patience - to create and maintain it.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your excursion with us! I can't wait for outings like this. In the mean time I suppose I should be getting those other appointments on the calendar (dentist, eye doc...) for my post-vaccinated self.

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    1. When I first called for a dental appointment, they quoted a date about 6 weeks in the future so it may be a good idea to at least get that on the calendar, Loree ;) I was lucky in that they had a subsequent cancellation and were able to work me in much earlier.

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  4. Happy you got out and had some fun. Thanks for the SG tour.

    Did they have any good plants at Roger's? Have not been there for so very long.

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    1. I don't know if it was my mindset or what, but I didn't see much that I felt compelled to purchase, HB. Maybe my shopping gene has atrophied? They did have some nice Mangaves, including the almost black 'Night Owl', but they were pricey. I bought a few pony packs of California poppies (50% off) to use as filler as my Freesia die back and I picked up a large 'Deep Purple' hanging fuchsia of all things.

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  5. What a beautiful and such colourful garden!

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    1. It always is, Nikki, regardless of the time of year.

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  6. Glad you had such a good time, with more to come if all goes well. I get my 2nd shot next Wednesday. I'll be glad to have that done.

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    1. I hope you find something fun to do after you're fully immunized too, Barbara. After a year-plus staying so close to home, I still find myself somewhat hesitant about wandering far afield. I've heard that even has a name: FOGO (fear of going out).

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  7. Your no ID plant is likely Ficus dammaropsis. My fave So Cal garden by far though I wish they'd take the colored glass out of the succulent border. Gilding the lily IMHO. Thanks so much for the report.

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  8. I count my lucky stars that I met you through our SCBG docent group, although I only had the opportunity to be a part of this group from Feb 2019 until the pandemic shutdown. One of the positives of the pandemic is becoming closer friends with you! You were always the one fellow gardener from that group who not only enjoys and has passion about horticulture, but would converse about it with me! In fact, I became quite humbled by your gardening experience and knowledge and you certainly are assisting in expanding mine! It is due to you that I fell upon my xMangave and other succulents obsession and also my obsession about Annie’s A/P plants! I feel saved by keeping in contact with groups of friends during the pandemic, and our small group is an important one to me. Our outing will always be one of the highlights of my “coming out” of the “stay at home” restrictions: my first outdoor dining experience! This could only take place for me because I was confident about how the 4 of us followed pandemic guidelines. Thank you!
    The Sun Garden was replanted this spring and reflects an Alpine garden, transplanting the some of the pines from the Central Garden’s winter display to it with the addition of the Lupines and Delphiniums etc. I’m sure the sun goddess statue is in storage and will reappear. I will find out about Sherman, the otter’s hose. I have heard from one of my fellow Sherman L/G volunteer friends, that as of last Friday, the fountain area Anemone and Ranunculus plants have not only been removed but planted with new ones! On Monday, the Central Garden Icelandic Poppies and Nemesia will be removed, and on Tuesday, we will be replanting those 4 beds and I’m tickled that I will get to participate. Sherman L/G has been another “saving grace” during the pandemic for me and it is worth the weekly 42 mile trip down for me. I’m certain another meet-up at Sherman L/G and Roger’s Gardens is in our near future in addition to trips to nurseries!

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    1. I appreciate our friendship greatly as well, Kay, and I'm glad we were able to build on it even under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

      Sherman certainly moves fast when it comes to trading out plants. Please take photos of the new layout during your volunteer assignment next week!

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  9. The pandemic sure makes us appreciate the many things we used to take for granted, like visiting with friends or shopping and eating out. So glad you were able to enjoy a 'normal' outing, Kris... even in your words, I hear how good it was for your spirit to get out.
    SG is one of those gardens I must visit whenever I come out that way again. I love their selections and upkeep. It seems like a real gem. Love their succulent beds and the ranunculus around the pool is outstanding.

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    1. Sherman is definitely worth a visit the next time you get out this way, Eliza. It's small but it packs a pinch into 2.5 acres. Roger's Gardens is also nearby, with some interesting demonstration beds. The Newport Beach Civic Center also has a large-scale succulent garden just a stone's throw away.

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    2. I'll be happy to meet you there, Eliza!

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  10. It is amazing how excited we all are upon getting out again! We've even been on a car trip, stayed in hotels and eaten in restaurants. And yes, it feels SO good. This trip looks fabulous: well, any trip to see gardens is fabulous!

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    1. I'm glad you're getting out and about too, Libby!

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  11. I can almost feel the liberation and your joy in finally getting out there and being a social being once again. I can't wait until we are able to do the same, but looks like it will be a while for us, probably not until summer.

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    1. I was frankly nervous about our outing at the start, Margaret - even driving a distance on our freeways felt like a big step! I hope the vaccine roll-out in Canada kicks up steam soon and that everything goes smoothly for you.

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  12. Sounds like a fabulous outing with friends. The garden is so colorful!

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    1. With Sherman Gardens, Lisa, visitors can always count on lots of color, no matter the time of year.

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  13. It sounds as if you had a great day Sue. It's so good to be going out again and doing what we previously perhaps took for granted. So interesting to see your photos which convey such warmth and sun. I love the tea garden with it bright ornamental parasols. We have been garden visiting today about half an hour from home on a beautiful spring day though we still needed a coat when we left home 😂

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    1. We're still getting cooler weather now and then, although I expect you'd consider our "cool" temperatures downright balmy, Anna. We're expecting summer-like heat later this week :(

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  14. Wow, wow, wow! That first garden around the pool! And then all the other areas and combinations. I'm having trouble finding the words. :) Isn't it great to be able to do some things that we couldn't do for so long?

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    1. It's a lovely botanic garden and worth a visit if you find yourself in the vicinity, Beth. And, yes, it was fun to get out and about in a safe way!

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