Sunday, February 5, 2017

Finally the Huntington again

After our abortive attempt to visit the Huntington Gardens a few Tuesdays back, we did re-plan and spent a lovely Sunday in the winter sunshine exploring this beautiful garden. It was a similar time of the year when we first visited and back then, we were mesmerized by the massed color from flowering aloes in the Desert Garden. Once again we weren't disappointed. Apologies for not getting the names of them. There are so many, that I just couldn't resist taking lots of pictures.

Aloe petricola

There were of course many other lovely plants flowering in this garden. It was great to see temperate plants such as Mahonia and Magnolia, reminding me of gardens back home in the UK. I miss the plants but not the UK weather.

Mahonia sikkimensis

Aeonium arboreum

Agave gypsophila

Banksia ericifolia

Beaucarnia recurvata

Love the shade patterns!

Flowering agave

Flowering cycad


Thursday, January 19, 2017

LA Arboretum revisited.

Last Tuesday I set out with friend Jim for a trip to the Huntington Gardens  - not been for a while and there's something interesting at all seasons. We were relying on the 'trusty' google maps in the iPhone to get us there by the quickest, least busy route. After an hour of what should have been less than a two hour drive, we realised we were on the wrong route. Somehow google had picked up 'Huntington apartments' and we were on our way to San Diego! So we reprogrammed and headed to the real Huntington. Arriving at our destination 30 minutes later than expected, we found the beautiful iron gates closed. At the second entrance a kindly but very firm security guard told us the gardens were always closed on Tuesdays - whoops - so much for my forward planning. 

We dithered between the nearby alternatives of LA Arboretum and the Norton Simon Gallery until we realized the latter was closed Tuesdays too! So we headed to the LA Arboretum to find the car park crowded. After two circuits and some nifty driving by Jim,  we parked. Phew - coffee needed! We walked to the  entrance and found to our delight that it was Free Tuesday - at last a bonus. Elation was short lived when we saw the line in the cafe! As we crawled towards the cash desk our plans for a quick coffee changed to the need for lunch and 40 minutes after entering the cafe we devoured an amazingly tasty burger, accompanied by a greedy looking peacock.

We last visited these 127 acre gardens in November 2015 and you can read my original account by following the above link. Looking at the pictures I took then I realise how much drier the garden was then with parched brown lawns and the Baldwin Lake shrunken to a muddy patch. This time parts of the garden looked quite lush and the lake was full once again. Whilst I will always take picture of interesting plants and gardens, I increasingly find myself looking for good subject matter to paint - a different angle, curious leaves or dramatic shadows.  In particular, the aloes were looking superb! We finally had a great day - hope you enjoy my pictures!

Aloe marlothii

Aloe ferox

Melianthus major
Bismarckia nobilis

Cycad with Ginkgo leaves

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Is it art?

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to visit LACMA - which stands for Las Angeles County Museum of Art. Now being totally honest, I have to admit that I struggle with modern art, almost completely failing to understand or appreciate it. At times my comments descend to a critical dismissal but who am I to reject works worth thousands! Anyway it was a curious day. The first exhibition was a comparative display of the works of Picasso and Rivera, the latter, an artist I'd not heard about previously - see my ignorance! They were friends, although they didn't work together closely. It was fascinating to see how their artistic development grew, sometimes mirroring the other in style and at other times forging ahead in different ways. 

Coming out of the exhibition in the wintry sunshine we were taken by the landscape, a striking arrangement of palms and other  plants with strong forms. Contrasted with the bright red of the building, it was quite spectacular. We later discovered it had been designed by the artist Robert Irwin and  landscape architect Paul Comstock. Irwin  is also known for his Garden at the Getty, another of my favorites that I have previously visited and enthused about.  (Read about it here)  

The landscape is actually called The Primal Palm Garden and contains over 100 palms, cycads and tree ferns. The significance of ancient plants links the garden with the nearby Tar Pits and the ice Age discoveries.