Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rancho Santa Ana

I frequently advise would-be native plant gardeners to start with a trip to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. It's a beautiful place to see the California flora in a garden setting.

On a recent weekday, I strolled through the garden in a state of bliss. With trees and wildlife far outnumbering people, and an abiding quiet--aside from the chatter of birds--it was as exhilarating as a wilderness hike. California fuchsia was in bloom

toyons were heavy with berries

and wooly blue curls were, well, just their gorgeous selves.

I spotted some (Oregon) juncos, rested under some twisting oaks, and, yes, had a little chat with this Western gray squirrel. Notice that compared to the non-native fox squirrels, its tale is bushier and grayer, and its belly is white, not yellow.

The garden is handicap accessible and stroller friendly. It's a great place for children to toddle or run, and explore.

Rancho offers a free monthly Native Plant Clinic, in which experts answer your gardening questions.


3 comments:

  1. The wild look is not for everyone but it sounds like you really got into it. I enjoy the Mesa with its more landscaped appearance and the desert area below, but it is the communities that speak to me the most! Nice post. Happy new year.

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  2. Yes, Rancho staff--past and present--should be proud of the garden. My recent visit was prompted by an interview for the LA Times Home section, so look for Rancho in a forthcoming garden story.

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