Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Visiting LA's Natural History Museum; outside the wall

Last November Andrew and I spent a week in the Los Angeles area and one of our stops was the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Andrew had been before, but this was a first for me. I was spurred to visit by folks telling me they had a great garden and photos I'd seen online and in print.

Today's post looks at the wonderful gardens available to everyone who passes by, outside the wall—no ticket required—like this purple vining flower. I have no clue what it is, but the ants loved it.

These big guys were dueling out at the main corner, near the entrance. 

Drama queens trying to take the focus off the agaves!

It didn't work though, at least not for my eyes.

Doesn't the museum complex look a little like a prison building? Agaves would be the perfect perimeter planting there too.

They're so big, and so beautiful!

This guy was labeled Evan's Philodendron, Phildendron x evensii. Did my friend Evan leave his philodendron in LA?

This was the main attraction for me, the living wall. 

I've seen many photos, and it was even better in person.

Well, I should say the wall and the plants in, on, above, and around—the whole thing was just so very well done.

Agave shawii

Agave sisalana (bottom)

And so many Agave victoriae-reginae!

A pair of Dasylirion wheeleri make a nice screen for the agave behind.

Agave 'Sharkskin'

Walking along the side of the museum complex now, and admiring the fruit of the Ceiba speciosa tree.

Tropical hibiscus.

Looking east across the Exhibition Park Rose Garden towards the Alexander Science Center School. Naturally the plants escaping the roofline were of much interest, although we didn't make it over to see what it was all about.

Agave 'Blue Flame', I believe.

And Agave 'Blue Glow'...

Beauty in numbers.

Living under the shadow of a couple tall fir trees and a pine tree next door I appreciated this mess. 

On Friday I'll share photos of the garden you see once you pay your entry fee and pass through the gate, but these final few photos were again taken on the public side of the wall, after a full day of exploring. I was waiting to meet Andrew back by the car (he has more museum energy than I do).

I was just hanging out soaking up the sun and again appreciating the wall...

When I spotted a few small lizards moving about.

I love the lizards.

They love the warm stone.

Such cuties!

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. The outside is so good that I am really looking forward to the inside garden.

  2. I love that wall, which I've yet to see in person. The flowering vine is a snail vine I think (Vigna caracalla). I'm glad you had no difficulty getting your agave fix!

  3. Gush! That wall! Gush!
    Those are the most descriptive photos I've ever seen of it and hope to see it in person someday. Also love how it points out that crevice gardens provide habitat for cold blooded friends...

    1. I was really blown away by it. I expected a much smaller installation and one that was only one sided. So well done. I hope that you get to see it soon.

  4. My cat, Ramses, and I love the Fence Lizards around here, too. We even named one that came around a lot last year: Hayley. She gave Ramses quite the run for his money by sunbathing right under his nose (but on the other side of the screen door). Feisty.

  5. Totally amazing wall and plantings! Can't wait for the inside!

    1. I'm so glad I finally made seeing it a priority.

  6. Oh and the purple vine in one of the early photos is Vigna caracalla (snail vine). They do well here in Phoenix but not were it freezes.

    1. Ya, once Kris shared the name I immediately looked it up. Zone 9, oh well. The Missouri Botanical Garden points out that it can be grown as an annual.

  7. What a beautiful place. I feel like I could spend hours studying the living wall. Good to learn from Nancy that the vining plant is snail vine. Nifty plant!

  8. That's a "crevice garden" kind of green wall, very unique with strong features: I love it. Not to mention the splendid grouping of Agave queen victoria... wow. Lizards I can do without ;-).

    1. But they're so cute! And yes, it's a spectacular example of a crevice garden green wall, I'm kind of scheming on a smaller version in my garden somewhere...

  9. Great garden! Designed by a woman. Her office has designed quite a few amazing public spaces.

    1. Thanks for the link, I really should have done my research into who was responsible for this masterpiece.


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