Southern California, here I am again...

I've been overworked and overstressed for far too long, so I'm taking a much needed break. There's nothing better for me to relax than go on a 1000+ mile road trip in 6 days. Crazy, I know.

I left on Monday morning with a full tank of gas and the navigation system set for Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino/Pasadena.

Day 2 will be Theodore Payne Foundation, Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens, and on to Oceanside in San Diego County. I'll spend day 3 visiting succulent friends in northern San Diego County, and then on to Ventura. Day 4 will be Taft Gardens in Ojai and a visit to Jo O'Connell's Australian Native Plants Nursery in nearby Casita Springs. Day 4 I'll spent in Santa Barbara visiting my friend Deana, and on day 5 I'll swing by Las Pilitas Nursery near San Luis Obispo. Throw in a predicted 1 to 1.5 inches of rain in a couple of days, and it should be quite an adventure!

To think that just last week (Thanksgiving) I took this photo in Mount Shasta at about 5,000 feet elevation:

The Huntington Botanical Gardens looked just like that. Said nobody, ever. OK, it looked like this yesterday:

1919 Café at the Huntington where I enjoyed a great slice of key lime pie

California Garden (not only California natives, but also other dry-climate plants that thrive here) 

Desert Garden, Old World

Floss silk tree (Ceiba insignis)

Backlit cactus in the afternoon light

Golden barrels galore

Ode to The Danger Garden

Needless to say my camera was put to good use and there'll be a lot more photos to come. The above sample is just a teaser.

In addition to the places on my itinerary, I'm looking forward to random discoveries—sights that catch your eye as you drive along and make you pull over. Like these:

Massive agave seemingly growing out of a rock wall

Our Lord's Candle (Hesperoyucca whipplei) in Ventura County

Check back tomorrow for an update!

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  1. I'm glad to see you've had good weather thus far, Gerhard. I hope the coming rain doesn't pose any difficulties. I remain hugely envious of that Taft tour! Are you skipping Seaside Gardens on this trip? It was well-stocked on my last visit several weeks ago...

  2. Some very nice photos here, Gerhard ... the flowers in front of the trunk on the floss-silk tree, the agave growing out of the wall, the snowy road at Mt Shasta. But, best of all, I like the landscape shot at the end. It is so representative of the area, the gray pine and the hesperoyucca growing together. Those are very special multi-headed yuccas, very uncommon. Imagine them in bloom. Beneath the gray pine, you can see four old stalks all together. Magnificent!

  3. An exciting and hopefully relaxing adventure. What a contrast between Mt. Shasta's snow and the Huntington's bright warmth. Looking forward to your updates!

  4. Road trip! Looking forward to seeing what you saw. Photos of Huntington always excite, and a little sunny warmth would be most welcome after a cold, cold November!

  5. I don't think you're crazy ! I think my Oregon road trip was 8 days but if you subtract the business part I'm right there with you. I plan on a Socal run in late Jan or early Feb myself.Still trying to work out the dates. Looking forward to your reports .

  6. Adventure on! I hope you’ve managed to leave your cold behind and are feeling fine for this epic adventure. Love that Agave/rock wall combo.

  7. Looks like fun - enjoy your trip! You reminded me that I'm overdue for a Huntington visit...


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