Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Smelling the Roses...

Yesterday morning we (Charlie, Rosalind, Richie and self) had downtime between breakfast and their having to check out of the hotel. Knwing that they love being outdoors and walking, I suggested the South Coast Botanical Gardens, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes Peninsula 310-544-6815 Admission is free every 3rd Tuesday; adults $6, seniors $5 other days.

'Way back in 1959, the garden was created on a sanitary landfill (oxymoron?) by the LA County Board of Supervisors at the request of a group of citizens, who incorporated and have run it ever since.

To this day, the gases from the underground decomposing refuse are collected throughout the gardens and used to generate electricity for it! Moving farther into the future (at least to me) you can dial their number on your cell phone and listen to a recorded description of the area you're seeing.

The gardens are extensive so we only saw some of the highlights. We missed the lake, a California native garden, palms and a plumeria garden (had to smell heavenly; plumerias are used in leis.)

Our first stop was the rose garden, a bowl-shaped depression with 1,600 roses of all kinds -- multiflora, old fashioned, miniatures... Charlie was absolutely thrilled by all of them and kept yelling, "Come smell this one!"

The Garden for the Senses is entered via the rose garden and has plants labeled "Touch Me" (and then sniff your fingers - rosemary, lavendar, etc.) or "Smell Me" (lemon verbena, peppermint.) Fountains burble quietly and there are frequent places to sit.

The Cactus Garden was Richie's favorite. There are examples of specimens from the US, Africa, Mexico and South America.

We got thrown out of the Children's Garden. Innocently we started to walk into an area with a nursery rhyme theme only to be blocked (no other word) by a largish lady who said, pleasantly enough, "We have a program starting very soon and if you want to be in the middle of a group of 25 children...otherwise, you should leave." I'd already begun back pedalling at '25 children' but Rosalind throught her rather rude and said so (out of her earshot.)

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