Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rancho Los Cerritos

In the shopping districts near where we are currently parked we have often seen the words "Bixby Knoll's". Those words have new meaning after we toured Rancho Los Cerritos.  The area  in which we are now located was in 1784 a part of 300,000 acres of land given to a Spanish soldier as a reward for his service . By 1790, because of a land dispute, that amount of land was reduced to 167,000 acres. The land was further divided down over the years, and the soldier's daughter ended up with 27,000 acres of land in 1834.  These acres of land are bordered on the west by the Los Angeles River, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. It became known as the "Ranch of the Little Hills"The land eventually ended up in the hands of the
firm Flint, Bixby and Co. Jothan Bixby resided on the ranch with his family. The ranch house was remodeled in 1930, and in 1955 4.7 acres of the ranch was sold to the city of Long Beach as a public museum. The original configuration of the adobe was left intact over the years, so the home was interesting to tour.

 But to me what is even more exciting about this ranch is the garden, which still has the trees planted in it from the years 1844-1881. The most impressive, because of its height and trunk size, is the Australian Moreton Bay Fig tree which I have pictured here. (Note the people for size comparison.)

In walking the garden we found a rather tall bush with flowers on it that looked like the flowers of an impatiens plant. We were fortunate that the horticulturist of the gardens was at the ranch during the time we were there and she was very eager to answer our questions. She said the plant we saw was of the impatient species and it is a perennial. I will post a picture of it here.

While we were talking to the horticulturist, a large flock of birds descended on a patch of honeysuckle which was close to where we were standing. They were swooping and diving among the flowers so they seemed to me to be hummingbirds. The gardner informed us that some were hummingbirds, but that many of them were bushtits. So now I have learned of a new bird, one of many I never knew before! The birds left the honeysuckle before I could snap a picture of them.

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