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Tour South Coast Botanical Gardens
South Coast Botanical Gardens, located south of Los Angeles, CA is worth a tour. Take along your camera to capture the breathtaking views of flowering shrubs, trees, and a multitude of other plant species.
It was early April and the garden was in full bloom. The weather was mild, and the sun was hidden behind light clouds for most of the time that we spent there. Yet the lack of sunlight did not lessen the cheerfulness of the abundant blooms.
Being a Minnesota native, the plantings were quite different from what I am familiar with, and since there are more than 200,000 varieties of vegetation planted there, it would be impossible for me to name them. There is a blaze of color made up of a mix of annuals and perennials, along with blooming shrubs and trees. There are individual gardens dedicated to roses, and cactus, as well as a conifer and eucalyptus collections. An occasional cluster of billowing grasses adds texture to the garden.
While the visual stimulation is quite dramatic, it was especially interesting to learn the history of the gardens. The grounds that the gardens now cover were originally mined for the rich diatomite that was a product of the Pacific Ocean that once covered the area. The site was then purchased by the city of Los Angeles and became a landfill prior to being converted into the botanical garden.
To this day, there are vertical pipes coming up from the ground where methane gas is released as the garbage decomposes. The gas is pulled into a vacuum system which sends it to a collection system, where it is burned in their Gas-to-Energy plant to produce clean electrical power.
The site is the place where weddings, group tours, and a variety of horticulture and birding classes take place. The many visitors to the garden would hardly notice the multi-functional design, as they stroll along the garden pathways and enjoy the breathtaking beauty.
There is a strong volunteer community that assists in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens, as well as propagating plants and providing information to visitors. And there is plenty of work to be done, as there are currently more than 2,500 different species of plants, some from all corners of the earth including Australia, the Mediterranean and Africa. There are also hundreds of species of birds, as well as many other animals that call the garden home.
Other garden features include two gazebos, a lake, an herb garden and gift shop. The garden is open year-round and admission costs are very affordable. If you're into gardens, and enjoy viewing exotic plants and birds, next time you're in southern California, stop by and visit South Coast Botanic Garden. It's a wonder to see, and an experience you'll long remember.