June 28, 2010

Photo Essay: Los Angeles Arboretum

When I went to Descanso Gardens a couple of months ago, the friend I was meeting there asked, "Is there a reason you want to go?"

I responded, "Because I like flowers and walking around outside?"

But as much as I like the standard fare offered by the botanical gardens of New York City - cherry blossoms, roses, ornamental conifers - the botanical gardens of Southern California are a world away.

As evidenced by the Los Angeles County Arboretum, the desert-like climate of Southern California allows botanical gardens to authentically showcase botanical wonders from far-flung lands like Australia, Africa, and Asia in a grandiose desert sprawl that really takes you away.

Around every corner, I saw something I'd never seen before. And that's saying a lot.

And although I have seen them before, I just don't get to see peacocks every day. Definitely not in New York.

The grounds themselves are lovely, with park features like the winding Serpentine Walk and Aloe Walk...

a duck pond, a turtle pond, and a lake...

...the restored Queen Anne Cottage and its nearby barn...

...and the ruins (!) of an old adobe house.

Before visiting the arboretum, I'd already done some hiking and photography in Debs Park earlier in the day, but I hadn't felt quite satisfied.

I guess I could always use just a bit more color, a curious new fragrance, and a persistent reminder that life comes in all kinds of crazy, colorful forms.

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