Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Spring at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens!

It was the beginning of April, when my friend Erin came to visit. She drove up from her home in San Diego, California to Los Angeles, for the weekend. Erin and I met in an acting class in S.D., more than twenty years ago! 

Anyway, Friday night we had a great sushi dinner in West Hollywood, but the weather had been strange and we decided to wing it on Saturday, depending on the weather. On her last visit I took her to the Getty Center but unfortunately, the gardens were closed! That was such a bummer because, you see, she is something of a green thumb!

On Saturday morning, the skies had begun to clear, and we decided to go somewhere neither one of us had ever been. The Los Angeles Arboretum. 

It turned out to be a gorgeous day! 

And the path around the arboretum led to us to an edible garden, a whole area that was plants from Australia, Then South American, Mediterranean, as well as other parts of the world, and other climates too. Turns out that the Arboretum is on 27 acres of land. It's actually in Arcadia, near the San Gabriel Mountains.

The land's modern history starts with a guy named Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin, when we bought a huge amount of land in there area and built the Rancho Santa Anita buildings and grounds.

There's a whole lot of history, but basically in 1947, Los Angeles and California went in together and bought 111 acres. Out of a portion of that land they created the arboretum, and the first Greenhouse was built in 1949. 1,000 trees were planted in 1951 and the arboretum was opened to the public in 1956. They were off and running ... more planting, more greenhouses .... Lucky us! I can't believe in all these years, I'd never been!

Loved the Tropical Greenhouse, which was very humid, warm and "jungly."

Outside the greenhouse ...

And into the Orchid Greenhouse!

This, below, is looking onto a big area, that must have been in the middle of the grounds, with a huge fountain. (We didn't really look at our map, we just wandered around!)

Here is one of the many geese, also wandering around the arboretum. They were very friendly, unlike other geese I've come across. Isn't he cute?

I don't know how many peacocks are at the arboretum, but we saw dozens! And, we were told, it was mating season. (We witnessed the truth of this later.)

In the magnolia garden, everything was in bloom ... all different varieties of them! (This was the very beginning of April)

Recognize this cute house? It was always seen at the beginning of the TV show, Fantasy Island

It was built in 1885 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It was built for Elias Jackson "Lucky" Brown and his fourth wife, Lillie Bennett. (The architect was her dad, Albert A. Bennett.) It's all furnished with antiques, from what we could see through the windows, as if it's still lived in. Unfortunately, it was all locked up.

Queen Anne Cottage

The early owners, even put in a large pond back in the day, with little boats. Oh, and it's said to be haunted.

Being in the Los Angeles area, there has been a lot of filming on grounds, including parts of two Jurassic Park movies, and various other T.V. shows and mini-series.

One of many little ponds, on the grounds ...

There was also a little Shakespeare Garden with all sorts of little herbs and flowers, that are mentioned or written about in his various works.

Erin, heading up to see the view ...

And what a beautiful view!

At this point, both of our phones died ... which is what we had been taking pictures with! (I'd left my actual camera in Ojai the weekend before!) This was such a bummer, because at the end of the day, we walked into the beautiful blooming Japanese garden, to find two different peacock males, in all their glory, showing off for all the little girl peacocks! We couldn't believe it!

Ah well, it's emblazoned on my memory but I will have to go back next April so I can share "The Show" with you all.

I love when everything is in bloom! Especially the flowers that look like little faces. Makes me think of my favorite scene in Alice in Wonderland. 

For information about the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden, go to www.arboretum.org

Hope you are all enjoying some beautiful, golden afternoons!

Blessings and light!


Kerry O'Gorman said...

Whoa! Fantasy Island! That's a blast from the past! We used to tune in every week for that one...and those gardens? A fantasy in reality indeed! I can see that very first photo becoming one of your pastels in the future. Thanks for the tour...I can almost smell those roses!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the tour! What a beautiful place. The Queen Anne Cottage is so cool. It was really fun to watch the video of the opening of Fantasy Island. Wow. Your photos are wonderful.

Erin Pettit said...

What a great day that was! Thanks for documenting it so beautifully, Lu. Love you tons!

Marty said...

this is such a gorgeous place ! so nice to walk there and see all the beauties of the nature ! a great day!

Josesanchez said...


donna baker said...

Lucinda, your photos are beautiful and painterly.

Unknown said...

Fabulous shots! I could spend a lot of time there just exploring the place.

BB said...

i would love to see these live,thank you for sharing C!

Tammie Lee said...

so much beauty!!
i was there once and they have such gorgeous plants, so beautiful.

Cobalt Violet said...

Thanks for the comments! I enjoyed sharing the beautiful day!

spacedlaw said...

What gorgeous colours!