|Mr. Wood Rat and I took a mid-week jaunt down to Santa Barbara in late January. The highlight for me, of course, was a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. |
There's something interesting in this photo: the palms on the left have no skirts of dead leaves. The smaller ones on the right do. Do you know why? The ones on the right were untouched by the Jesusita fire that swept through the garden in May 2009. You can see some amazing before and after photos here. Unfortunately most of the rare and endangered plant collection was lost in the fire.
|Many wonderful views opened up to us as we strolled along with a botanist friend who has volunteered in the garden for many years.|
|Look how lush! And they haven't been getting the satisfying rains we did here on the Central Coast (though they seem to be behind us now).|
|I love this coast live oak, and the split-log bench below it! Many beautiful oaks adorn the gardens.|
|The garden features woodland, desert and many other types of habitat|
|Including redwood habitat! The trees looked quite happy, though redwoods don't grow south of Monterey County in the wild.|
|I particularly wanted to see the tea house, and how California native plants are so suited to a Japanese garden aesthetic. Look how the manzanitas go from tall and sculptural down to the lower forms at the end of the bed.|
|Lovely stone work flowing down to the tea house, featuring traditional elements.|
|Gorgeous rocks, and more plantings - not sure what grasses, maybe California fescue? Or more deer grass?|
|One of the highlights for me was a visit to the herbarium, in the cool basement of one of the buildings. Now I want to volunteer in the UC Santa Cruz herbarium more than ever!|
|This was one of the stunning views of the Santa Ynez mountains behind Santa Barbara, with the beautiful stones in the foreground looking like they just tumbled down and landed there. But I bet they were artfully arranged!|
Our friend told us many stories as we went along. I only wish I could remember them all. She also chatted with many staff members and fellow volunteers along the way, so we were able to meet some of the folk responsible for this stunning garden.
If you want to see more photos from our trip to the botanic garden, click here to view my Flickr album.
I would love to see the gardens unfurl their splendors in spring. If you get a chance - definitely go! If you do - please send me a link to your photos!