Monday, November 03, 2008

A Walk On The Dry Side


I recently visited Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in the southern California town of Claremont. My dad, niece and I arrived early on a cool, cloudy morning following an evening of rain which included thunder and lightning...an unusual SoCal event. The garden was having a plant sale so I worried about parking but luckily for us, although maybe not them, there was plenty of space in the lot. We headed down the path and soon came upon what in the spring is a wildflower meadow. We saw only cleared soil...through which a wonderful path made in the shape of a snake slithered!
As we continued on we saw lots of cacti and other drought tolerant and native plants...not my usual favorites but quite interesting to see in large plantings.
This pretty rock caught my eye...I wonder if anyone else sees what I see in the dark spot?We saw lots of wildlife...a hawk (maybe a sharp-shinned), monarch butterflies, squirrels, lots of warblers and other songbirds... and a cute little baby turtle trying to soak up some sun on a rock when the clouds parted.
I actually got a shot of a hummingbird, although when I saw the one my niece got I realized why I might want a better camera. Then again, she is the better photographer, so maybe I'll stick with what I have for now.
On our way out I was tempted by several plants at the sale, but the thought of a one gallon cactus as carry-on luggage slowed me down. Seriously, there were several salvias that I might have tried if I could have thought of anywhere I might have an empty spot to fill back home. But for some strange reason my better sense prevailed and I left with only photos and the memory of a quiet, enjoyable walk through a very different garden from those I usually frequent.

8 comments:

EAL said...

Great images. Looks like fun. Lots of sharp, pointy plants.

Carol said...

A very interesting garden, quite different from anything we have here in the midwest. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

chhaprahiya@yahoo.com said...

You ought to visit Rancho Santa Ana during spring. You will be struck by the diversity and variety of flowering plants (NOT just cacti). California's plant diversity is so great it is one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world! California plants like ceanothus, godetia, and various bulbs are grown to this day in European gardens.

Leslie said...

It's true, EAL...LOTS of pointy plants, some with leaves skewered onto them!
Carol...I thought you might see something in that rock spot!
Welcome chhaprahiya! I might try to go back some spring...I could tell the meadow would be impressive! I've lived in CA for almost 40 years so I do know and love lots of our gardens. Cacti are impressive, just not my thing. I have however been growing and loving lots of other CA plants for most of the past 40 years!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I actually like Agaves, especially when they send up those tall bloom stalks. They look like something from another planet. Believe it or not, I saw a rabbit in the dark spot. It's kind of like a Rorshach.

Leslie said...

MMD! yes! I thought it looked like a rabbit too, but was beginning to think I was crazy!

Annie in Austin said...

It's good to hear that your dad went to the gardens with you, Leslie - hope that means he's getting stronger.

More agaves! A group of other Austin garden bloggers went to Peckerwood on Friday and they all took photos and are posting.. you're half-a-continent away but this Rancho Santa Ana garden's array of dry land plants seems to have some similarities.

Never saw a rabbit - glad MMD did.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Leslie said...

Hi Annie...thank you for your kind thoughts about my dad...he is indeed doing better. Luckily, he was not affected physically by the stroke...it is mostly speech related and he is not able to read, drive, live alone or make some decisions right now. But we have every reason to believe that he will regain most of his abilities at some point..hopefully in the not too distant future.