Friday, April 29, 2022

Visiting LA's Natural History Museum; inside the wall

On Wednesday we started a tour of the garden at LA's Natural History Museum, arbitrarily drawing a line at what was on view publicly—that is without paying admission—vs. what you see once you've bought a ticket and walked in the gate.

These Opuntia ficus-indica were growing in the edible garden, part of the gardens inside the gate. There was filming going on nearby during my visit, so I tried to stay out of camera range while still admiring those big pads and...

...the papaya growing above.

Also of interest in the edible garden, the large rusty-metal forms on which various plants were (or could be) growing.

Our visit was on November 15th, this structure may have been covered with annual vines in season?

These were my favorite, they were vaguely reminiscent of the Robert Irwin arbors seen at the Getty Museum.

But this style offered all sorts of opportunities for hanging plants...

Walking on I several signs about their hummingbird garden...

... and right on queque I was divebombed by several of these adorable little terrors.

Senna artemisioides, a plant I tried to grow, but failed at. Isn't it dreamy?

There was a nice little pond.

And a simple arty "fence" surrounding it.

There was a lot to love over in the "get dirty" zone.

Including structures meant to engage nature.

And ones meant for kid-play.

I'm got to try your patience by ending this post with even more living wall photos, because it turns out it's a two-sided wall!
And it's just so good that it deserves as many photos as possible!
It would have been fun to be able to walk on the top of the wall, a pathway snaking along the center of the plantings. It's probably a bit of an insurance nightmare though.

Dudleya seemed to love the wall, after all it mimics their rock growing nature.

I first thought this was a senecio, but it's actually another dudleya.

This cool-business! Eriogonum fasciculatum, aka California buckwheat.

That's what the sign said, and when I asked online (sure that the sign was wrong) that's what I was told by those who would know.

I'm still scratching my head over that one.

If you're curious to learn more about the interesting series of gardens at the Natural Hisory Museum, there is a fantastic chapter on them in the book Under Western Skies, written by Jennifer Jewell and photographed by Caitlin Atkinson. 

Of course you should also consider visiting when you're in the area.

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


  1. This is where we were most pining to go during Covid! One of the metro lines drops you right across the street...We did finally make it to LACMA and the Hammer again but defly owe a visit back here. Horning in on a tour of this garden Mia Lehrer gave to Shirley Watts is one of my fav guerrille blogger moments ;)

  2. I love that pond, as much as I do the wall. I think I need to try tucking a Dudleya (or two) into my stacked-stone wall.

  3. That wall just got better with the massive Agave "stacked" high on top; stunning. Senna artemisioides is indeed dreamy: I've never seen thas plant before. Good of the hummer to sit still long enough for you to snag a clear shot.

    1. I took several photos of cooperative hummingbirds, had to narrow it down to just one photo though.

  4. That wall is so interesting! As I recall the Desert Botanical Garden here put one in near the staff area in the last few years. So cool!

    1. I haven't visited the DBG since 2016, I really need to get back there.

    2. It has changed a lot since 2016. Many new plantings, etc.

  5. I'm having trouble commenting as Hoover B. so this may be Anonymous. It's a great garden to visit if its free of school-field-trip kids running everywhere screaming bloody murder. Looks like you managed a lovely quiet visit.

    That Eriogonum grows wild around here and is a valuable feeder of pollinators and songbirds. Also good cover for quails, as it will grow over a wide area. Why the head scratching?

    1. Google keeps messing with things! I managed a kid free visit, except for the one I photographed. I kept waiting for him to get out of the shot but finally just gave up. Head scratching because none of the photos I found online looked anything like the plants that were there in front of me.

  6. I was worried that the inside wouldn't match the impact of the outside, but it does. What a great place! I've never been, but it s at the top of "must see in L.A." list now.

    1. It's amazing. You really do need to visit!


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