The garden developed from a farm, particularly by Ruth Baird Larabee, a keen plant collector who donated the land to the county of San Diego in 1957 as a park and wildlife sanctuary. Over the years, its name and financial standing has changed and in 2009 it became the San Diego Botanic Garden and operates as a 501 non-profit organisation. The garden is supported by volunteers as well as a Friends group. The garden has a lovely relaxed feel - adequately tended, enough to be attractive and look loved but not the over manicured look found in some major botanic gardens. In places the garden gently dissolves into the natural landscape.
|A green roof planted with succulents|
The garden has a very positive attitude towards children and many areas were geared to keep them busy and interested. It is obvious that the garden welcomes many schools parties. We particularly liked the Hamilton Children's garden with its wonderful tree house - lots of exciting places to climb and walk but very safe! And yes we did climb through its branches.
Whilst walking through the fruit garden we met a young guy carrying a huge hand of fresh bananas which he offered to us. He then said 'Sweetheart' - not the usual comment from a stranger until he explained it was the cultivar name for this banana and very appropriate for the rich sweet fruit!
One area we loved is the the Undersea Succulent Garden which I had heard of some years ago and a picture of it was printed in my 'Exotic Gardening' book. It was great to see the real garden, although it was smaller than I expected!
Next time some more detail and pictures of the plants we saw and Chad if you are still reading, a few that need identifying!