Now that we've had some good rains, it's time to start thinking of enjoying the outdoors. The LA area has many public gardens to enjoy, as well as the pleasure of simply walking down a neighborhood street. One of the great benefits of our climate is how our gardens spill onto sidewalks for all to enjoy. Just please, don't pick the flowers! Often here in California, we grow our gardens with purpose. I, for example, plant flowers to attract beneficial insects. Honey bees need all our help, so enjoy the flowers, photograph them, but let the bees do their magic!
Los Angeles Arboretum http://www.arboretum.org/ Large, well organized arboretum featuring mature trees from all over the world. Well paved paths to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Lots of peacocks strolling throughout the grounds. Best time to visit is spring, especially around Mother’s Day when the rose garden is in full bloom and the peacocks are displaying for one another.
Descanso Gardens http://www.descansogardens.org/ Large rose garden, largest camellia collection in the country, oak forest, Japanese garden. Best times to visit are March for the camellia blooms and April/May in the rose garden and native garden.
The Huntington http://www.huntington.org/ Wonderful garden and library. This garden is one of the best in the region. The new Chinese garden is the largest one outside of China.
South Coast Botanic Garden http://www.southcoastbotanicgarden.org/ Very nice Mediterranian garden, the only fuschia garden in LA and the dahlia garden are what distinguish this garden from others. In addition, this garden was built over an old landfill; from waste to beauty (http://southcoastbotanicgarden.org/history).
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden http://www.rsabg.org/ Located in Claremont, this garden is dedicated to California native plants and trees. In addition to this beautiful garden, which is best visited between January and June, the city of Claremont boasts some of the nicest, mature trees lining the streets. From the City of Claremont website: “Claremont has been a winner of the National Arbor Day Association's Tree City USA award for 22 consecutive years. Early citizens planted trees when the city incorporated in 1907. Claremont is one of the few remaining places in North America with American Elm trees that have not been exposed to Dutch elm disease; the stately trees line Indian Hill Boulevard in the vicinity of the city's Memorial Park.”
Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden http://www.manhattanbeachbotanicalgarden.org/ Dedicated to sustainable, earth friendly gardening, this pretty native California plant garden is a nice retreat from a busy day on the beach or shopping.
Echo Park Lake discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/activities… This is a fun one! The park surrounds a lake, which used to be a reservoir. This is where the annual lotus festival is held (https:/…323724881276). The park is lovely, you can walk the entirety around the lake, rent paddle boats, or just enjoy the great view of downtown LA.
Tongva Park, Santa Monica. This park is a retreat from the busy downtown area. There are nice overlooks to the pier and ocean, a children’s play area, and lots of space with native plants and benches for quiet reflection.
Gardens at Museums/Universities/Historical Homes
UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden http://www.japanesegarden.ucla.edu/
Exposition Park Rose Garden www.laparks.org/exporosegarden/rosegarden.htm Located near the Natural History Museum and the Science Center, this large, formal rose garden includes fountains and views of the lovely museum buildings. Best time to visit is April-August when the roses are in bloom.
Rancho Los Alamitos http://www.rancholosalamitos.com/index.html From their website: "Rancho Los Alamitos is twice listed on the National Register of Historic Places - once as the sacred Tongva village of Povuu’ngna, the traditional birthplace of the native people of the Los Angeles Basin and, second, for the evolution of its significant historic landscape over time. The site includes traces of the ancestral village, an adobe-core ranch house ca.1800, four acres of lush historic gardens developed during the 1920s and 30s, and the restored working ranch barnyard of the early-mid 20th century. With the opening of the Rancho Center, the film, new exhibits and room environments feature the landscape, the people and the place over time and within the context of the development of the region and the state."
Virginia Robinson Gardens http://www.robinsongardens.org/ From their website: “it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open by appointment to the public. Located behind the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the beautiful six-acre property contains a breathtaking display garden, mansion and pool pavilion. A favorite destination for both local and international visitors, the property attracts a varied audience, from those interested in the history of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills to people who appreciate beautiful gardens and traditional design.”
Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple http://www.lakeshrine.org/ This place is dedicated to meditation and reflection. While the public is welcome, it is not a place for noisy children, big picnics, or anything more than to quietly enjoy the lake, paths, and gardens.
Garden walks through LA area neighborhoods
Venice Canals …about.com/od/…Map-of-Venice--CA-Canals.htm Lovely walk along the Venice Canals. See nice homes and gardens, bridges, water views. Not a good walk for those with strollers as the sidewalks are very narrow and often walkers need to go single file to pass one another. Also not a good walk with large dogs for the same reason. No bicycles allowed.
North of Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Park just north of Montana and stroll the sidewalks of any of the tree shaded streets between Ocean and the city border to see well tended front yard gardens.
900 block of Harvard St. In May/June the Jacaranda trees that line this street are in full bloom. Bright periwinkle blue flowers cover this tree lined street.