Friday, April 12, 2024

Ventura Botanical Gardens

I visited the Ventura Botanical Gardens as part of a trip to Southern California last November.

This was my second visit, the first was back in late 2015 (coverage here). Back then I was surprised by how the sad the plants looked as a result of the record drought the area had been dealing with. Unfortunately things got even worse in 2017 when the Thomas Fire hit the area, as a result the garden closed. This current version of the garden (reopened in late 2018) is much improved and looks to be on its way to great things...

Our visit (me + my sister-in-law, niece, and mother-in-law) started at the welcome center, which doubles as a small nursery and gift shop. 

Love the containers and plants out front... well as the colorful pots for sale inside. Behind the fence was an off-limits nursery area, it looked to be full of plants getting ready to be planted out in the garden.

Follow the flower pathway...

Jubaea chilensis, aka Chilean wine palm

I didn't catch the name of these cactus, but no doubt they'll grow up to be a nice extension of the rock wall.

Love the rock and metal work...

This scene reminds me very much of my first visit. Thirsty plants!

Puya coerulea (I believe)

Lobelia excelsa (Tabaco del Diablo)

The foliage on the left reminded me of fabiana, we'll see more of this in a bit.

Puya chilensis were everywhere...

I never did see signage for the pink succulent that carpets large areas of the garden.

Cordia decandra

Eulychnia acida

Didn't see a name for this spiky character.

You're rewarded for the climb with a nice view of Ventura and the Pacific Ocean.


Here's more of the plant I thought looked like a fabiana, turns out it is! Fabiana imbricata, aka pichi.

Quillaja saponaria, aka soap bark tree. Love those seed pods...

Larrea nitida, love those leaves.

Starting our descent now...

A close up of the pink succulent, it's definitely experiencing drought stress. Or maybe I should say it was last November when I took these photos, I know the area as gotten rain in the months since that visit.

Hopefully this sea of sad kalanchoe has perked up too.

Although the condition of the plants wasn't stopping them from producing their beautiful blooms.

Back down at the visitors center/gift shop we shopped. I was mostly interested in their wheeled carts...

Fabulous, but to big to get home.

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  1. Pink succulent looks like an Aeonium under extreme drought stress. Maybe A. haworthii. They probably look very different at the moment after our rainy winter.

    Beautiful view of Ventura and the sea beyond.

    1. Interesting that you see aeonium. Yes, they selected a super location for the garden. The plants look great climbing up the hill and the views are fantastic.

    2. I was thinking maybe Anacampseros?

  2. My late aunt used to live in Ventura. When I was 8, my family drove cross-country from Alabama to visit. The only thing I remember is the beach, Disneyland and the pool at her housing complex. I vaguely remember palm trees.

    1. Must have been an exciting trip for an 8-year old?

  3. I've been there twice that I recall, the first time being during the early years following its opening and and the last well before the pandemic. A LOT has changed - the visitor's center and many of those paths weren't there, for example. Definitely worth another visit!

    1. Oh please go and take photos! I'd love to see how it looks after nice rains. It's a nice walk too.

  4. What a great piece of land. I’m wanting to try a puya in a container again. Have you grown one before, and if so, did it flower?
    Jim N Tabor

    1. I have grown a few, they never did great in a container and I finally just got tired of them and gave them away. They best one I've grown was in the ground for a few years, until a bad winter took it out. (never a flower on any of them)

  5. Some nice improvements and good to see they are still trying. Somebody there has an eye for design, but they certainly have their work cut out for them. The wheeled carts are wonderful and I do like the look of the fire resistant shipping container/visitor center.

  6. Oooh, this garden is shaping up nicely. Love the picture of the pathways, and the metal work! The lobelia is exotic looking.


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