A Breath of Fresh Air in Los Angeles
I made another great discovery right here in Los Angeles after many years living here. I have heard about the Botanic Garden before and even went to a wedding there many years ago but didn't know where I was at the time. For some reason I thought that we had driven out of LA and into the country somewhere, but it turns out that it is only about 15 minutes from my apartment!
Just before my father-in-law headed back to England, Amanda suggested that we all take a trip down to the garden and have a walk around. We showed up in the early afternoon and paid the entry for all three of us. Once we got inside, we all looked at each other and thought, "Wow! I can't believe we haven't been doing our walks here all this time."
We ended up calling the front desk from my cell phone and asked the person at the front desk if we could come back and use our ticket price toward a years'membership and they said it was okay to do so. Awesome! I believe it cost about $65 for both Amanda and I. We initially thought that the garden was just a small area, but it turns out that it covers many acres of land so we'll have a lot to explore going forward.
The flower wall in the above photo is located right near the entrance to the garden. Everything is gorgeous and very well maintained. We were very impressed! Palos Verdes is a very well off part of Los Angeles, so it isn't surprising. It is essentially a forest-like haven on the edge of a concrete jungle.
When you first enter the Botanic Garden, there are rows of plants and things like you'd see in a personal garden. Well, a personal garden of someone with a lot of space, of course. Once you move on a bit, it turns a bit more forest like with trails. The main difference being that most of the trees and plants have plaques in front of them describing their species.
Recently I've been having a lot of fun with a new app that I downloaded, called plantnet. It allows you to photograph a plant's leaves, flowers or fruit, then it will attempt to identify it based on a large database of images submitted by other users. It is surprisingly accurate!
The plant-life in the garden is incredibly diverse. There seems to be a lot of just about anything you could think of that would grow in California. I was enjoying taking close-ups with my new camera, the Canon EOS R with a native 35mm lens. I am still learning all the ins and outs of this amazing camera.
I have been pretty happy so far with the level of detail that I've been getting out of it. As soon as I can afford it, I'd like to get a high quality telephoto lens so that I can get some good animals shots from afar. I have missed some really great shots of some cool critters simply because I didn't have the right lens for the job.
A bit further down the trail we came across a large group of trees covered in these awesome flowers. I just love the intricate designs that nature provides for our eyes to enjoy. Sometimes I wonder if such beauty is by design, or simply just the way nature works.
There are endless varieties of cacti in the garden. I couldn't even begin to photograph them all. I'm sure that I'll be doing more posts about our future walks as we've only touched the tip of the iceberg on what there is to see.
This was was pretty strange looking to me, but cool all the same. There were hummingbirds buzzing around this thing, but I don't know if there was anything of interest for them, or if they were just looking for new food sources.
Along many of the trails, the above leafy plants hugged the ground for much of the walk. Everything looks so alive and healthy, which is unusual for most of LA. Generally when you see plants, that tend to look half dried out, or already dead looking.
It was weird knowing that city life was so close by. You really wouldn't know it strolling down these trails! I am so glad that we found this place. We will definitely be trying to do our walks here at least once or twice per week.
This area is called 'the lake'. I can only assume that there used to be a lake here that has sense dried up. It looks like it was a shallow lake the whole time with a little island in the middle. I could be wrong though!
After a good walk though the woods, we happened upon this area with stone seats and a tiny stage. Perhaps they do performances here? I'll have to look it up online. Amanda's dad took the opportunity to rest his poor knees.
Closing in 15 Minutes!
We had to cut our walk a bit short on this day. We thought that the park closed at 6, but it turned out that it actually closes at 5 so we'll have to be getting there earlier if we want to take longer walks.
It's fine though because my father-in-law was really suffering with his two knee replacements. They have speakers set up around the garden so that they can announce when the park is closing, so that is helpful if you lose track of time.
Also they don't seem to mind if you are late coming out, as long as it isn't too late. We arrived back at the front gate at 5:15 and all was well.
The above final photo is of a really cool looking aloe plant that is in front next to the parking lot. Even the parking lot plants look amazing! I will definitely be going back soon. One thing you really come to appreciate living in a place like LA is the beauty and peacefulness of nature. There is just no replacement for the real thing!