Posted on: September 19, 2015 | Written By: Doug Oster |
Bluebird skies and warm, California sunshine welcomed me to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. A fascinating landscape which pairs eclectic art with mature plantings.
In the shadow or the San Gabriel Mountains, the garden is the antithesis of the lush spaces we’re used to in the east. Plants here have survived and in some cases thrived through years of drought.
Different though can be wonderful. There are plants here I’ve never seen before, others are huge specimens of familiar species.
Tall banana trees with thick trunks greet visitors to the Prehistoric Forest where some of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s “Road” movies were filmed.
The Queen Anne Cottage was used in the 1970’s television show Fantasy Island.
For me though, it was the combination of intriguing art, some of it almost hidden among the plants, that make this garden so special.
A metal sculpture seems like it should be heading for space in a 50’s Sci-Fi flick, but isn’t out of place here. There’s a cool vibe which permeates through the whole garden. A giant bedazzled blue skull stops you in your tracks and put a smile on my face, taking center stage from the flowers blooming in the back of the border. But that’s OK, in other areas the art bows to the beauty of the plants.
It always comes back to good gardening though and a perfect example is the placement of a brugmansia tree, it’s creamy white trumpets hang in front of the Meyberg Waterfall. The flowers sway in a slight breeze created by the powerful flow of water splashing on a rock wall.
Pretty pink anemone dance in the perennial garden and plumes of ornamental grasses soak up the bright sun.
Every garden has lessons to teach for those who want to learn. This one was no exception.