Tuesday, February 9, 2010

L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Originally I thought it a bit crazy to see another garden. And yet, given that we had another sunny day begging to be enjoyed, an arboretum seemed the right place to tour. Our Triple AAA Tour Book rated this a gem and, as they are always right, we headed for the LA Botanic Garden. It was easy to find the place once we realized that the Santa Anita Race Track was across the boulevard from the gardens- all we had to do was follow the signs to the race track! With the San Gabriel mountains as a backdrop these gardens are located in a beautiful natural setting, as you may notice in the picture below. We took this picture on a hill overlooking the gardens. The gardens are dotted with tall palm trees, some of which are located in the center of this picture.

It may be winter time and there are a lot of plants and trees not blooming in the garden at this time of the year, but there are still plenty of them flowering as you may note in the foreground of this picture. The garden has their trees and shrubs arranged by continent. We especially enjoyed the Africa and Australian areas. This patch of aloe from Africa was very striking with  its array of bright orange blooms.

We also saw many of the species of the Wattle tree, from Africa (found also in Australia and India). This is a member of the acacia family. And it was my favorite in the whole garden. Its flowers are like soft pom-poms and its leaves are quite delicate in appearance and also soft to touch. Its name seems all wrong, maybe in Swahili wattle means "mighty fine and pretty tree".
I have so many pictures to chose from to post here, it is a hard choice. The magnolia grove was breathtaking, even if the trees have lost a lot of their blooms.  And standing in the middle of them we noticed the most wonderful flowery perfume-like smell!
We spent about three hours in this garden.  Besides the trees and foliage there are waterfalls and a small natural lake fed by underground springs, so I still have more to write about and pictures to post. Will continue this tomorrow, but before I leave this I want to show some of the garden's orchids.

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