Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2018

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/937416

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Page 7 of 35

city of angels WANT TO CONNECT WITH NATURE THIS YEAR? By Kathy Vilim Put on Your Walking Shoes New Year, New Beginnings If you've been longing to feel more connected to Nature, you are not alone. In fact, current research by authors like Rich- ard Louv in his best-selling book Vitamin N suggests that hu- mans have a real physical need to connect with Mother Earth. If you are bored with taking walks on city sidewalks around your neighborhood, but think hiking in the Santa Mountains would be too challenging, there is another largely unexplored option for you: Arboretums and Botanical Gardens. While much of the country is dealing with near-freezing temps, we residents of Southern California are a lucky bunch right now. Even in February, Angelenos can enjoy outdoor walks, and here in Southern California, we have a great diversity of gardens to visit. Kids are back in school, so you can enjoy solitary walks at your own pace, or bring visiting relatives from snowy eastern climes with you. For your enjoyment, here are three popular gardens in South- ern California showcasing plants from around the world: • Descanso Gardens, 150 acres in La Cañada Flintridge, is recognized for its winter Camellia bushes. (https://www. descansogardens.org) • Los Angeles Arboretum, 127 acres in Arcadia, is known for its colorful blue peacocks who literally strut around the park walkways with you! Visit for Peacock Day, March 24, 2018. (www.arboretum.org/) • Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens, 120 acres in San Marino near Pasadena, boasts the largest cactus collection in the country. (www.hun- tington.org/gardens/ Where Do I Go to See Native Plants? Perhaps you are planning to ditch your lawn and replace it with drought-tolerant California natives. You are sitting in your garden wondering where to begin. While the local humming- birds might voice their own opinions on what to plant (like tubu- lar fl owering vines and red salvia), walking through a botanical garden that specializes in California native plants is a bit more helpful. In addition, botanical gardens have docents that can help you plan your native plant garden. In botanical gardens, you can commune with nature, draw strength from mature trees, and at the same time observe how all the plants co-exist: from trees to understory of shrubs, and still lower plants, including grasses. The native garden is an ecosystem with many layers of life that all need each other. Grouping different levels of plants creates a more viable eco- system and has more wildlife value. Botanical Gardens Recommended by the CA Native Plant Society • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Claremont (www.rsabg.org) • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Santa Barbara (www.sbbg.org) • Manhattan Beach Botanic Garden (www.manhattanbeachbotanicalgarden.org) • San Luis Obispo Botanic Garden (www.slobg.org) • University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum (www.arboretum.ucsc.edu) • CSU Fullerton Arboretum (www.fullertonarboretum.org) 8 wholelifetimes.com

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