Garden travels: Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

When I was a little girl growing up in Southern California, my Mom used to take me to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden as a treat. It was commonly referred to as "Lucky Baldwin's" back then -- after Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin, who purchased the property way back in 1875 -- and it was always a thrill for me to see the peacocks there.
There are many diverse plantings.

There are many peacocks there today, as I happily discovered while attending the Garden Writers Association's annual symposium in Pasadena recently.

Some folks might recognize Baldwin's guest house, known as "the Cottage," from the old "Fantasy Island" TV series. (you know, "Da plane! Da plane!") It's situtated on the edge of Baldwin Lake.

So what all does this have to do with gardening? Plenty! In 1947, Los Angeles County purchased acreage surrounding Baldwin's homesite, for the purpose of creating an arboretum and it has been steadily expanded upon over the course of many years.

"The Cottage" 
Visitors will find orchid greenhouses, a formal rose garden, an herb garden, perennial test gardens, water conservation gardens, the Prehistoric and Jungle Garden, a waterfall and more. You would be amazed by all of the different plant collections representing Australia, Africa, Madagascar and the Canary Islands. And oh yes, there are lots of peacocks!

I've assembled some photos here to give you a mini tour of the gardens. It is well worth a visit!

Part of the formal rose garden.

Zucchino rampicante (similar to what I grew this summer).

Beautiful raised beds in the vegetable garden.

Turtle pond.

Oh, and did I mention peacocks?