Friday, January 8, 2016

Finishing up SoCal 2014 with a visit to the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden

On the last day of our 2014 trip to Southern California we paid a visit to the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden...what? You've never heard of it?

From their website: "The Conejo Valley is a region spanning both southeastern Ventura County and northwestern Los Angeles County"...my brother-in-law and family live nearby and when researching gardeny things to do I discovered this little treasure. "Between the mall and the mountains and the freeway and the green way, lies one of the hidden gems of the Conejo Valley.  The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is 33-acres of natural terrain encircled by the city of Thousand Oaks. From the the sweeping vistas at the peak of the Garden through fifteen unique, hillside specialty gardens, and onto the hiking trail along the riparian steam, the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a destination not to be missed. The garden is open every day except holidays and is free to the public."

Acacia something-or-other...

Salvia apiana maybe?

Salvia discolor

There was a nice view too!

From their website: "While a significant portion of the Garden’s acreage is reserved to provide a natural habitat for birds and small animals, the developed area of the Garden incorporates eighteen specialty gardens that highlight water-conserving plants from California and other Mediterranean climates." There's a map here if you're interested.

Any guesses what this shrub is? Rhus ovata, thanks Gerhard!

At first I thought this was a patch of Crocosmia...

But it's actually Chasmanthe floribunda.

Protea laurifolia flower...

Foliage

And another flower...

One of the Leucadendrons...

Schinus molle / Peruvian pepper

The Desert Garden!

Can anyone identify the small agave on the left side?

Here's a close up of it and it's pups, I suspect they were spread out, away from mom, by human hands?

Pretty nice for a free community botanical garden right?

Hesperaloe parviflora, and another view.

The Melianthus major was HUGE!

Callistemon (not sure which one)

Ceiba speciosa / Floss Silk Tree

It's spikes!

Exploring off the beaten path I discovered a small nursery area. Turns out they have plant sales on Sunday's (info).

I stared at this beauty for a bit before I realized what it was.

Maytenus boaria

I have the cultivar 'Green Showers' - which has "deep green leaves that are broader and more densely arranged than on the species"...

Eriodictyon crassifolium / Felt leaved Yerba Santa

Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp aspleniifolius / Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood, foliage...

Bark

Platanus racemosa / California sycamore

There is a more traditional park around the botanical garden as well as a fenced kid's playground. A great place for a family outing!

Finally, walking back to the car, I spotted this.

Anyone care to venture a guess as to it's ID?

I suspect it's a baby conifer, but for a moment thought it might be something more, well, Australian.

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

36 comments:

  1. Wow, this is a NICE place! I had never heard of it but based on what you showed us, it deserves to be better known.

    Your mystery purple-flowering shrub is sugar bush (Rhus ovata). I just saw one at the UC Riverside Botanical Garden, otherwise I wouldn't have known either.

    The mystery agave (entire clump) could be Agave shawii.

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    1. It does deserve to be better known! Of course I did condense a lot of walking down into the highly photographable parts, but still...it's awesome.

      Thanks for the Rhus ovata ID!

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  2. I agree with Gerhard -- nice place, especially being free! Full of plants I have little to no knowledge about though, which makes it both more interesting and less so -- if you know what I mean.

    Seing that Melianthus, does that mean that you'll be letting yours get bigger now?

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    1. I let my Melianthus get as big as it desires, each season. Our winters are too much for it though, by the end it looks pretty crappy so I cut it down for fresh growth.

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  3. Nice find! It's such fun to discover new and compelling plant places to wander. And free - I wonder how they maintain the garden? There are probably some dedicated volunteers involved.

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    1. Indeed, hard working volunteers!

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  4. Great photos of this place! It's just about a mile from my home and I'm anxious to see how the plants will respond to the recent (and hopefully upcoming) rains. Some areas were getting a little sad looking of late....

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    1. Thanks for commenting Sheila! I really wanted to get back this year, to see how the year of drought had played out there. Sadly once we made it to Thousand Oaks there just wasn't time (being Christmas and all). I hope the rains work their magic!

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  5. You find the coolest places! "Riparian stream" gave me quite a chuckle. I wonder if it feeds into the water river or goes directly into the wet ocean? Lots of interesting plants and no initials carved in them - hooray!

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    1. Right? No initials. People must be better behaved here, or it's just not so well known as to attract the idiots.

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  6. The small Agave looks like a standard clone of Agave lophantha, not seen much any more since Agave lophantha "Quadricolor and "Splendida" clones have been so popular.

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    1. Thanks for the ID...any thoughts on what tvojt points out below? That the taller, trunking, plant looks to be the same?

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  7. For the agave ID, did you feel like the trunked plant was something different? The structure of the leaves look the same to me on all of them, with a dark terminal spine and toothed margins. Some Furcraeas have teeth, spines and spread, apparently, but all of the references I could find online were much larger plants. If the trunked plant is the same, that would probably rule out agave, right? San Marcos says that A. angustifolia can form a short trunk, but that doesn't seem right. You know I love a plant mystery. That last plant is hauntingly familiar, too, but.....

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    1. Wow...you point out something I completely missed. Now I want to go back and look at both in person. I think I ignored the taller one because it seemed a lighter color, and not as fleshy, drier. That was dumb and you'r right, the leaves are very similar. A. angustifolia doesn't seem completely crazy...

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  8. The Agave looks lophantha-like to me also. The last plant also looks familiar but not quite. Similar to Artemisia californica, but ???

    What a fine neighborhood garden and park complex--something for everyone--never heard of it before.

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    1. Thanks Hoov...another vote for A. lophantha!

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  9. I'm pretty sure that agave is A. lophantha, minus all the colors like in the ones you see in most gardens. I've noticed that the pups for mine spread all over the place. And i'll have to visit this garden soon!

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    1. I can vouch for the pupping tendency of A. lophantha, after seeing how many pups Gerhard removed from his plant (and being the lucky recipient of a big one). However what none of you could really see in my bad photo was the thickness of the leaves. I believe Daniel (below) got it...

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  10. The small mystery agave on the left appears to be a larger pup of the bigger mystery agave on the right. I think Loree is correct to focus on the trunking characteristic of the mystery agave.

    Combining the leaf form, the pupping nature, and the trunking characteristic leads me to guess A. decipiens (which is one of the obscure Florida Agaves).

    The plant on page 207 in Fritz's new book matches nearly perfectly:

    http://issuu.com/fhnavajo/docs/agave

    Gentry's figure 20.17 also shares similarities and shows a clone grown in SOCAL.

    I would put my money there, but who knows . . .

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    1. YES! Thank you Daniel, I think you've got it figured out. Although I must say you've giving me too much credit...tvojt is the one to call my attention to the similarity with the taller trunking one, I'd stupidly dismissed it.

      Why I couldn't completely get behind the A. lophantha ID is that these leaves were fairly thick and fleshy (slightly aloe-like), the A. lophantha's that I've seen (admittedly only the variegated ones) are much much thinner. These photos on plant lust are spot on for what I remember seeing, especially the one by my business partner Megan: http://plantlust.com/plants/agave-decipiens/ oh...and you've gotta love the homemade sign. I think that must have been at the Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs.

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    2. Not sure to whom I'm replying, but great ID detective work, Daniel. Looks like a match to me. Thanks so much for sharing this great resource. I can't read it, but the names, great images and many new-to-me agaves are all so interesting!

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    3. Yes, I forgot to thank you Daniel for the link to that electronic book. Even without being able to read it I'm still captivated. As tvojt said...what a resource!

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    4. Ah, I see after a more careful reading of the comments that tvojt did make the point about the trunking Agave to the right -- good call. I also see that tvojt also pointed to angustifolia, which was one of my early guesses as well!

      In any case, happy to help.

      As to Fritz's books: I would say that I mostly agree that they are a good resource. There are some odd decisions, like the definition of the domesticates as a section unto themselves (not to diminish the excellent work of Wendy Hodgson at all), they are human-made hybrids or transplants at best.

      And then there are other issues (e.g. in his Manfreda book he has used a photo of mine of M. undulata cv 'chocolate chip' to characterize M. brunnea. Ironically, I had used that same photo to demonstrate that M. undulata cv 'chocolate chip' is not M. brunnea.

      So, use with caution. But I agree, the books are mostly really good.

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  11. Tha mystery conifer looks to me like young Pinus pinea

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  12. No, I didn't know about this at all. Looks wonderful. Love the Protea flowers. Will have to put this on our list for future visits to the region.

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    1. We will never run out of things to see in the LA area, that's for sure.

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  13. Hello, I think the mystery confinfer looks like Pinus pinea too. I have a few stray ones popping up where I left some pine cones in the garden

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    1. Thank you for the confirmation ID!

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  14. So many beautiful plants that looks so tactile too (except the spikies of course). The other plant, you're right it doesn't look like a conifer as it looks rather wispy.

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    1. Glad you agree! I wonder if one could maintain the wispy look by cutting it back?

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    2. I was looking up Pinus pinea online. Seems they're often sold as small Christmas trees, and photos of plants that look to be of similar size to your photo (if I am judging accurately) look distinctly like a pine tree. Your mystery plant seems to have much more of a perennial structure in the way that it is branched, unless it is something very unusual and Australian as you suggest. Maybe someone from the botanic garden can ID. Probably not that important, but curiosity often kills this cat! Do you care if I try to email them and send a link to this post? I looked on their web site the other day and you correctly ID'd the salvia.

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    3. You're so good Tim! I wouldn't mind at all if you email them - one word of caution though. This wasn't actually in the garden, it was (as you can see) growing along the fence as you walk back to the parking lot.

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    4. Done. I'll let you know if I hear anything or perhaps they will post here. You OCD plant-obsessed reader, Tim. :)

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    5. I received a nice reply that the person responding also thought it was a pine and intended to go check, but I haven't heard back since. That growth still looks weird to me for a pine, but I can see some older needle bundles in your photo when I look close. Did you see the potted Pinus sabiniana on the latest post at A Growing Obsession? They definitely look like pine trees, but there are some small shoots at the base that look like your photos here. Maybe the cut this seedling back and those are all big new shoots? Oh well, I've obsessed enough!

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    6. Good to know they replied, even if it wasn't full of information. I did see that blog post on AGO but didn't notice the new growth at the base, so I went back to have a look. You're right...it does, a lot. And your theory holds up in that who wants a big tree growing under a chain link fence, of course they would cut it back, and of course it would grow back...

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