Wednesday, November 18, 2009

LA Arboretum

The Los Angeles Arboretum is often thought of as the red-headed stepchild to the Huntington Gardens, located about four miles away. However, the Arboretum can be a delightful escape!

Yes, the Arboretum is a bit more coarse and rugged, not as preened and primped as the Huntington. But, on the side of the Arboretum, it is half the admission price and about half as crowded. The Arboretum just edges out the Huntington on size: 127 for the Arboretum to the Huntington's 120 acres. The Arboretum has some fascinating components to offer, including this Queen Anne Cottage. You may recognize it as Mr. Roarke and Tattoo's landing pad on Fantasy Island. Plus, there's the 1890 Santa Ana Depot with the time-machine equipment such as a telegraph and hand-crank phone, and the Coach House with the old-school horse tack and farming machinery. And, there are wild peacocks roaming around, adding to the "we're not in LA anymore" vibe to the grounds.

Oh, and the gardens. The main gardens are Prehistoric Forest, The Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia. My two favorite smaller gardens are the Garden For All Seasons, a teaching garden near the greenhouse and my carnivorous plants (remember those from my Huntington post back in May?), and the new Celebration Garden, a very Zen-like space with lovely bougainvillea, pergolas and outdoor fireplace enclosures. There was even a guy doing tai chi on one of the decks.

Red-headed stepchild? Maybe. Fantastical getaway? Definitely.

Click here to go to their Web site.

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