Saturday, March 2, 2013

South Coast Botanic Gardens

Since it's another beautiful day in Southern California, we decided to go outside and enjoy it.
Today we're visiting the local botanic gardens in Palos Verdes, South Coast Botanic Garden.
 Just minutes from our house, this 87 acre garden holds over 2500 different species of plants. 

We happened to time our visit well and discovered many beautiful flowering plants and trees.
Theresa described this flower as "perfect". One regret I do have, that Theresa told me I should be doing but I didn't listen, was to take photos of the names of all these various plants.  So sadly while there are plenty of beautiful flowers, that's all I'll really be able to tell you about them.

Some flowers are crazy looking.  Not only does this have thousands of stamens exploding out everywhere...

But it also produces some kind of berry.  

We also happened to show up at just the right time of the day at 11:15am.  The very first tram tour started at 11:30

The tram tour was a great way to discover the gardens. Our guide kept cracking us up with statements like "This is a Pony Tail Palm.  It's called that because, um, well I don't know why they call it that."  He kept us entertained the whole time though and we all had a lot of fun.

Once we finished the tram tour, it was time to start exploring on our own. 

One of the highlights of the day were the Japanese Cherry trees.  We lucked out and there were a lot of trees in full bloom!

Once we got close to the tree, you could hear a very audible humming coming from it.  Not only were we enjoying all these blooms, the local bees were having a field day.  Hundreds or maybe even thousands of bees were flying from blossom to blossom, completely ignoring everything else, including any photographers who wanted to get super close.

Again, sorry for not getting names of these beautiful trees. You'll just have to enjoy the pictures.

Theresa liked this bush because it had green, yellow and red all going on together.

Everywhere you looked, there was something pretty.

See what I mean!

This tree looked like it decided to just start growing out instead of growing up.

I think these trees are really cool with their roots growing a foot above the ground.  I'm just really glad I don't have any in my yard.

I wonder what causes these leaves to be speckled. 

One massive tree that looks absolutely evil is this White Floss Silk Tree.

The entire trunk is covered in massive thorns.  I touched a few of them and they are terribly sharp with no flexibility in them at all. 

Theresa thought these looked "fake".  They do look plasticky in a way, plus what would be the purpose of the little pine cone looking thing on the end.

Chi thought this Brachychiton populneus Bottle Tree was very smart for storing extra water in it's trunk for when the weather became dry.

We saw this blossoming cherry tree while on the tram and knew we'd have to come back to see it.  It looks like there were two trees grafted together, creating one tree that produced normal blossoms, as well as bright pink blossoms.

After seeing the buds, Theresa suggested renaming this the peppermint cherry tree since they resemble the candies.

And once they open, they turn into these beautiful flowers.

Very pretty.

And it's a nice background too.

Who would have thought we would make a Disney reference while we were here. In Walt Disney World resort in Florida at the Animal Kingdom back in the Africa section of the park, there is a tree with these giant pods hanging down.  It's so strange looking it almost looks fake. We've wondered what it was called while we were there, but who would have guessed we'd find the answer on the other side of the US.  This is called a Sausage Tree.

Flowers like this make me start thinking I might want to buy more photography equipment.  This tiny flower is no more than 3/4" across.  The only way I could get my lens to focus was to stand 6 feet away and zoom in, then crop the photo later.  Maybe I should get a macro lens....

After finishing the mile long loop, we explored the local garden area.

I think this is a Magnolia tree.

The blossoms are beautiful.

So what did we think of our time at the South Bay Botanic Garden?  We thought it was great! As we were leaving, we stopped by to upgrade out $8/person entrance fee to a $50 per year family membership.  We'll be back!  Maybe next time their rose garden will be in bloom!


  1. I think a macro lens is a good idea. Maybe you can branch out into flower photography professionally as a hobby? A flower pic taken by a Flowers....I can see the money rolling in :P

  2. Funny because the "cherry tree" you saw that she suggested to rename "peppermint" is actually a flowering peach tree called prunus peppermint or the "Peppermint Peach Tree" :)