Descanso Gardens – La Canada Flintridge, CA

The other garden we visited was Descanso, which is more of a local garden.   Not as large as Huntington, but certainly beloved – the line to get in was crazy!    I was able to use my Coastal Maine Botanical Garden reciprocal membership here – first use of that for the year, even ahead of my garden.

My sister had been here before to see the lilacs, and it turns out they have North America’s largest collection of camellias.     They also had a great Spring show of tulips.    But I think my favorite part was the back of  the garden, where they had a native California plant collection.    I’ll always go for the wildflowers, when I can.

Huntington Botanical Gardens – San Marino, CA

I’ve been to the Huntington once before, the first time I ever visited my sister, back in the misty depths of time before I owned a digital camera (hard to believe there was a time when that was the case).    It’s one of those places you can visit many, many times because it’s so huge (and I’m not even counting the art collection – the museum is whole other side of the place).    That first visit was the first time I’d ever seen blooming aloe – it was before I’d ever visited Phoenix, and their desert garden was the first large scale experience I had with those kinds of plants.

This trip, we mainly tooled through the Chinese Garden, and the Herb Garden.    I’ll admit the herb garden was my favorite – it was mostly the kind of thing that I can grow, and completely in my garden style wheelhouse.


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I got back on Tuesday from a whirlwind trip to California.   I had originally been scheduled to fly out the Tuesday before, but Mother Nature chose to grace us with sixteen inches of snow that day.    Fortunately, I’d seen the writing on the wall that weekend, and moved my flight out to Thursday.

The main purpose of the visit was to meet my niece M, current holder of the World’s Most Adorable Baby title, so this trip was lighter on daily activities than most.    We did still manage a few garden visits, because what good is visiting Southern California in March if you don’t take advantage of the weather?

There was also some good Mexican food, pizza, and ice cream, and I managed three books over the trip.    All and all, a good taste of summer at the tail end of winter.

San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinatas, CA



















First off, this garden is in San Diego County, not San Diego itself.     Little bit up the coast actually.   In case you were planning a quick jaunt across town from your hotel room…

Second, this is where our membership at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden really pays off.    We get a reciprocal membership with the American Horticultural Society gardens, so we get into places like this, all over the country, mostly for free.   (In this case, we paid two bucks for parking.)    Such a good deal.

Third, you remember how California’s in a major drought?    It actually rained for a day and a half while we were there – on this day.    The one day BF and I had by ourselves in the San Diego area.    Fortunately, we don’t melt, so we got to see this garden in a fairly uncommon way.    The rain forest area actually looked rainy!

San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA

Flamingo Fight!
Staring contest: my brother and the California Condor
Now that’s a rodent!

The San Diego Zoo really is amazing.     I’d always known it was one of the best zoos in the country, and it lived up to the hype.    (Really, the only thing I was a little meh about was the gondolas – the Sky Train, or something like that, for a proper name – you can’t go both ways, and the line on the entrance side is way longer than the other side, so you have to walk back to where you were, and it’s a big place).

We could have easily spent more time here than we did, but we were staying out of town, and we were with my niece, who is an amazing trooper, but is also still just four.    (She loved everything, up to the exact instant when she didn’t anymore.    Awesome kid.   Really.)