My parents came into town a couple weeks ago, and being the horticultural buffs they are Allison and I took them to lovely Descanso Gardens in beautiful La Canada. They've been to San Marino's Huntington Library and Gardens a couple times so I felt they were due for a change. Even though I've lived in California for almost six years now, my Spanish is still a little rusty, apparently Descanso Gardens means gardens of rest, and I must say, they do make for a nice place to kick back and do a little resting. The day we went though--not so restful. The Southland was experiencing a little unseasonable warmness at the time and the mercury was pushing 102.
One of the first things Allison taught me when we were dating is the joy of the foliage shot. For example, one of us will climb in amongst a shrub or a tree and pretend like we're exploring the jungles of Brazil while the other snaps a picture--when in actuality we're next to some planter at Union Station. Allison may be swearing off foliage shots for awhile though after this one, so nicely captured below (or at least she'll hold off on cacti shots). The shriek and gaping mouth are just a setup, but the rest of the day was spent pulling needles out of Allison's rump, including a couple we excised the next day.
Now here's a fun native plant. Apparently they grow like weeds, and I guess in actuality they are weeds. I wish one of us was standing next to them for perspective, but suffice it to say the word tall comes to mind. The Descanso Garden caretakers cut them to the ground each year, and by August they're 8 feet tall!
The foliage had it out for us that day. Look at me here being attacked by a manzanita tree, and I in no way provoked it. For the record Allison was definitely taunting that prickly pear.
Now you're probably wondering why I included a picture of some pavement. If you'll notice though, it's the most ingeniously camoflauged lizard I think I've ever seen. By some fabulous turn of evolution it just happened to be prepared for a life on Earth's millions of miles of asphalt roadways. That red tailed hawk soaring above will never spot this tasty little morsel, oooh but neither will that SUV. Ouch, that probably hurt.
Here they are. Mom and dad. Surrounded by roses upon roses in Descanso's International Rosarium.
I mentioned it was 102 degrees that day, right? Splashing water like this was a welcome site. We came this close (fingers 2 mm apart) to jumping in.