Thursday, June 8, 2017

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, The Palm Oasis

Way way way back in January (which honestly feels like another lifetime ago) Andrew and I flew down to Los Angeles for a few days. He tended to work business the first couple of days while I immersed myself in gardens. After visiting Pitzer College (here and here) I stopped in a nursery, which I've yet to post about, but will be soon. After that I headed to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. I wasn't sure what to expect, and honestly the fellow manning the entrance didn't exactly inspire confidence in my choice to visit. Still I powered on and really enjoyed it.

For today's post I'm fast forwarding into the garden a bit, and we'll be looking at the palms, specifically Washingtonia filifera, the California Fan Palm.

It was amazing to be up near these towering giants, with their long skirts of old fronds.

It seemed no matter where I was, there was always a palm or two off in the distance.

Then I got to the Palm Oasis. It was amazing.

The signage reads, in part: California Fan Palm oases are unique ecological islands in the warm Colorado Desert of SE California, and are closely associated with groundwater seeps along the San Andres fault complex…

The California Fan Palm, Washingtonia filifera, may grow 70 feet high and exceed 40 inches in diameter, and is the only palm native to the western U.S. Its distinctive features include huge leaves with accordion-like folds and a skirt of dead leaves.

Fire is an integral part of the ecology of California Fan Palm oases. Mature palms are fire tolerant whereas most of the understory plants are not.

 I studied them up close for awhile, looking at their trunks and leaf stems...

And the entirety of the old fronds.

So much accumulated brown old growth, topped with new green fronds.

They towered above me, no matter which direction I looked.

It was an amazing experience to stand amongst them.

I highly recommend this garden, should you be in the area.

And hope to get to the rest of my photos soon...because while the palms were truly amazing there was so much more to see...

Weather Diary, June 7: Hi 78, Low 55/ Precip trace

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

28 comments:

  1. They look spectacular, and extra interesting with their old palm frond skirt on. There seems to be two camps when it comes to old palm fronds: keep or trim. With very tall ones they look better with them on, like those in the pics.

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    1. Kind of like the two camps on Yucca rostrata leaves...

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  2. Giant columns of palm. Must have been amazing to stand below these giants!

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  3. Do you know I've never been there? Having grown up around tall palms and the serious litter and damage they can deliver when they're not properly maintained and our Santa Ana winds blow, I'm admittedly not a palm fan (no pun intended!) but I look forward to the rest of your coverage.

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    1. Nice pun work there Kris! I have seen the huge chunks that can fly out of those trees in the wind, scary stuff.

      You should visit this garden!

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  4. Was the nursery open when you were there? I was impressed by their selection of CA natives, second only to the Theodore Payne society's native plant nursery. I bought quite a few things.

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    1. No...and I was not happy about that. I would have loved the opportunity to shop there.

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  5. That's very cool. I never knew there were palms native to the the US. Very strange and wonderful profile with that tuft of green on top of all that thatch.

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    1. I wonder how many different creatures call that thatch home?

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    2. That's an interesting thought. It must afford protection for creatures as well as the trunk.

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    3. I must admit I didn't just come up with the idea on my own. My brother, who lives in Phoenix, has told me stories. Rats. Ugh.

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  6. Normally I would be removing old fronds, but these are so much better with them on, just looks right.

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  7. The scale of them is sure dramatic. Realize how little I know about palms with this post.

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    1. Oh me too, I can name about 3 or 4 and that's it.

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  8. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. Nothing like a trip to SoCal when it's cold at home!

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    1. It was wonderful, I recommend it (the garden and the trip).

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  9. Impressive. It looks like a herd of elephants with a few babies sheltered among them. The fact they are fire tolerant is a jaw-dropping bit of information. You'd think with all the dry fronds they would easily burn. Did the sign mention how old those giants are?

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    1. Ha! Yes the elephant description is a good one. I didn't see any mention of age, unfortunately. That would have been interesting to know.

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  10. Wow. Not usually a fan of those palms; they sprout in every planter they're near, but those are impressive.

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    1. Amazing how in the right place even the most hated of plants can look good.

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  11. Those California Fan Palms look incredible. Though they also look a bit like they could be aliens from an old Dr. Who show.

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  12. The "skirts" are rat condos, so sorry, but they induce cringes.

    That garden was in terrible shape from the drought as they do not irrigate much at all. It must be looking vastly better this year.

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    1. My brother (in Phoenix) has told me stories about the rats. Ugh.

      Sounds like I picked a great time to visit!

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  13. They look so funny with the skirts making the trunks look huge compared to the crowns. But also majestic, especially the larger groves rising up like walls.

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    1. Wall of palms, what a thought...

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