Friday, January 2, 2009

LA Christmas - The Best for Last

My, and probably your, stereotype of LA is that of a urban/suburban environment characterized primarily by asphalt, concrete, graffiti, and endless subdivisions. As a resident of super green Oregon I was surprised that my favorite images of LA were primarily of gardens. The variety and beauty of plants in the LA area was a wonderful surprise. Following a few photos of my favorite gardens, places, plants etc.

Pueblo de Nuestra SeƱora Reina de los Angeles
Right in the heart of downtown LA is this amazing restoration of the first European habitation in the LA area. I was blown away by the giant opuntia (prickly pear cactus) and the bougainvillea in the courtyard.

These cool giant agaves were at the Museum of Native American History on the Gold Line to Pasadena. Let's make some tequila!

I know this is not a plant, but have you ever seen a building more worthy of the gigantic Disneyesque ego of Southern California? They actually had to sandblast the thing upon completion because the sun reflecting off the surfaces was literally melting the building across the street.

The gardens of the mission at San Juan Capistrano are some of the most beautiful. I recall studying CA history in school (Sacramento) but actually visiting the mission made the whole father Junipero Serra thing a bit more immediate. Too bad about the Indians...

The only place I have seen more and better palm trees was in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney Australia. Why is it, that most Aussies you meet seem to want to emigrate to LA? What are they thinking?

While many "green roofs" succumb to being primarily a collection of weeds (the wind dontcha know) requiring irrigation, the cactus garden on the roof of the Getty Museum is spectacular!

In conclusion let me say that while many of the stereotypes are no doubt true, my family and I learned a great deal about a great city. I am not ready to move there any time soon, but neither am a rooting for the big one to send it sliding into the Pacific Ocean.

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