For the past week I’ve been posting photo hints from my trip to the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. It really was thee place to be for a gardener on Black Friday and there were plenty of us. But because of its size, there was plenty of room for all to play. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It was almost 70 degrees and with only the slightest breeze. And everyone seemed to be having a great time, old and young alike. One of the great things about the Arboretum is that it isn’t a plant museum, like some botanical gardens, but more like a park with really interesting plants. The only fences are the ones that contain the garden. You can venture off paved trails and some special areas beg you to do just that. When was the last time you walked through a grove of 40′ tall bamboo? Or passed between ancient palms and cacti?
Even though it’s a very open, accessible landscape, the garden is in relatively good shape. The normal damage you see in almost any Southern California park doesn’t exist here. Or if it occurs, it is removed promptly. Despite the fact that all sorts of people can wander the ground virtually unhindered, there are few broken branches, smashed fruits, cracked pots or sculptures.
The garden is arranged around a large central fountain and open expanse of lawn. Children play in the sunlit grass, couples take naps under a canopy of trees. Tourists feed the peacocks and try to encourage them to ruffle their feathers just a bit for the camera. The atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful. Like many botanical gardens, most of the plants are grouped by continent. Within the mere 127 acres you can visit Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas. You can also stroll through a prehistoric forest and visit an historic circle containing a Shakespeare herb garden.
There are waterfalls and ponds, statues and intricate pottery, greenhouses filled with orchids, carnivorous plants and epiphyllum. There is even a restaurant and lecture hall, gift shop and plant shop. In the short amount of time I was able to spend, I snapped over 300 photos. Over the next few weeks, I invite you to join me on a photo tour of the LA Country Arboretum.