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.


  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.

  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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