Sunday, May 21, 2017

Aloe splendor at Los Angeles Country Arboretum (January 2017)

The good folks of Los Angeles County are so lucky. Not only do they have the Huntington, they also have the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The two are (literally!) just 5 miles apart.

I've been to the Huntington twice now and know how stunning the gardens are. The L.A. County Arboretum had always been on my list but since I had heard it referred to as Huntington Lite, it wasn't at the top of my list. However, on my way home from Palm Springs this March, I decided to check it out. I didn't have much time--not enough for the Huntington--but I figured an hour would be enough to get a general impression.



Well, I was wrong. An hour was woefully insufficient because the L.A. County Arboretum is anything but Huntington Lite, it's a full-fledged peer.

Encompassing 127 acres on what once was Rancho Santa Anita, a 13,000 acre Spanish land grant, the L.A. County Arboretum consists of several dozen gardens and collections (like the palm and bamboo collection), a lake, and a variety of historic structures (read more about the site's history here). It would take many hours to see everything. My one hour was barefully enough to scratch the surface of the South American and African section. For this reason, consider this post an extended teaser, not in-depth coverage. I'll be back soon to explore the L.A. Country Arboretum at a more leisurely pace.

One of the attractions of the L.A. County Arboretum, as I quickly learned, are its peafowl (aka peacocks and peahens). Some 200 of them roam the gardens and apparently adjacent neighborhoods. They are descendants of the original birds Lucky Baldwin, the former owner of Rancho Santa Anita, imported from India in the late 1800s. I was lucky because quite a few males were ready to show off their stuff when I was there.






Aside from a brief foray into the Celebration Garden above, my brief visited focused on two areas: the Desert Display Garden and the Africa Collection. Most plants weren't labeled but I will give an ID where I'm reasonably sure. Otherwise I'll just let you enjoy the photos.



Euphorbia resinifera (left) and Aloe cameronii (right)



Calibanus hookeri

Ferocactus glaucescens

Ferocactus glaucescens

Agave ovatifolia

Agave ovatifolia
Now we're about the scamper across the walkway into Africa:


Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'



Aloe ferox

Bismarckia nobilis from Madagascar

Bismarckia nobilis

Bismarckia nobilis and Aloe vaombe, one of the most stunning aloes in my book (also from Madagascar)








Can you tell I fell in love with Aloe vaombe on this trip?

Aloe vaombe and Pachypodium lameri in the Madagascar Spiny Forest


Madagascar Spiny Forest

Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' and Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'

Aloe barberae



Aloe barberae

Aloe arborescens (or hybrid)


Aloe ×principis (Aloe arborescens × Aloe ferox)




Euphorbia horrida



Euphorbia horrida flowers

More Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' (behind NOID aloes)







Aloe excelsa

Aloe ferox

Fever tree (Vachellia xanthophloea, formerly Acacia xanthophloea)

Unfortunately, aloe mites are a fact of life in Southern California. I saw signs of infestation in quite a few plants.

This post barely covers the Desert Display Garden and aloes in the Africa Collection. There are literally dozens of other gardens to explore at the L.A. County Arboretum. I can't wait for my next visit!





10 comments:

  1. Me, I like the Arboretum better than the Huntington. It's not so perfect, not so meticulously maintained; there are fewer crowds of tourists and lower entry fees. Next time if you are there during the right season try the Perennial Garden, my favorite spot. Your selective photos show the good portions very well.

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  2. I really should make it down there sometime soon! It's been on my list, but your pictures definitely moved it up higher! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Oh my goodness, this was pretty amazing and if it's just a teaser, I can't imagine how amazing your full visit post will be! Bismarckia nobilis is a plant after which I lust but cannot grow. The blue of it's foliage really makes the red of the aloe blooms pop.

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  4. Only an hour? Ya, that's crazy talk. Glad you at least got a taste. The only peacock I saw came to visit me while I had a sandwich outdoors at the cafe. Your tale of their history in the area makes sense of the fact we've seen several wandering the streets when we've stopped at the California Cactus Nursery, near the Huntington.

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  5. Oh wow, it's nickname really seems to betray what it is like inside!

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  6. Great photos! I used to visit the LA Arboretum on a more regular basis than Huntington Gardens but I haven't been there in years now. I hate the drive through downtown LA but you've whetted my appetite for another visit.

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  7. I must visit this someday. Also, checking Craigslist right now for peacocks, as I think it will really add something to my photos. :) Any idea what the Agave in the photo just above where you said "Aside from a brief foray into the Celebration Garden above..." is? It looks so much like one I have that hasn't been ID'd yet.

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  8. Back in the olden days my friends and I loved to picnic there, talking real olden days, the 60's and early 70's. I was barely out of high school. We used to like to drive around Pasadena and look at architecture. I guess we were kind of nerdy.

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  9. You saw a lot in just an hour! Aren't those Bismarkias fabulous? We go for the Inter City show in August but it is often too hot to see much in the gardens. A. vaombe is wonderful, I still need to find one.

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  10. I had about the same amount of time on my visit, Gerhard, but it was quite crowded and pretty hot the day I was there. Your pictures really bring out the bloomage on those aloes! Thanks for sharing.

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