RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Santa Barbara – part one – a saunter through Lotusland


A friend and I drove up to Santa Barbara last week partly to visit Lotusland, which has been on my bucket list for a while, and partly to enjoy the city. Lotusland is actually located in Montecito, an affluent unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California, east of the City of Santa Barbara.


I first heard of Lotusland while visiting Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Festival in June, 2017. That was quite a different scene with thousands of people thronging the streets. Click here to view my blog post of that event.

Lotusland sits on 37 acres and unless you are a member you must walk through it on a tour with a docent.

It is billed as one of the top ten most beautiful gardens in the entire world. Well, it is very nice and I enjoyed the visit but I’m not sure I would go that far. Maybe we are spoiled for lovely gardens in Southern California but other gardens in other parts of the world spring to mind. Top 100 might be more realistic although I haven’t traveled enough to back that up! But it was worth seeing, for sure.


I took 240 photos during the walk and it was very hard to decide which ones to display… I could easily have included 100 in this post… but I decided to spare you and cut it down to a mere 56 with as much variety as possible… which means some of my favorites hit the cutting room floor… that hurt!

This turquoise glass slag lines the pathways… a very effective and beautiful border.

Lotusland contains about 21 different garden areas with more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. Please click on an image below to begin the slide show.

I’ll be uploading a couple more posts of our trip to the Santa Barbara area so stay tuned!


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Laguna Beach “week-long” one-day trip

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, located in Orange County, is about 60 miles and two hours from Culver City. My friend Maria Kurtz has some of her beautiful paintings hanging at the Quorum Art Gallery on the historic gallery row. She needed to check in on Wednesday so I went along for the ride. Her husband did the driving so that was perfect for me!
Laguna Beach

As we walked back to the car we passed this store with colorful pots.

Laguna Beach Laguna Beach

After visiting the gallery we ate lunch in the outdoor patio at GG’s Bistro. As I enjoyed my seafood salad (calamari, salmon, shrimp) I was reminded of my trip to Italy some years previously. I was so relaxed I was feeling like I was on vacation in some exotic location instead of a short drive on the 405 freeway.

Laguna Beach

Like every other area in Southern California, Laguna Beach is getting to the point where there are too many houses, too many people and too much traffic.

Laguna Beach

After lunch we went for a walk along the beachside park.

Laguna Beach

Of course I couldn’t stop taking photos.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

The prickly pear cactus were enjoying the ocean view. And their flowers were showing off too.

Laguna Beach

It was a spectacular April day in Southern California.

Laguna Beach

As we were walking along I kept using the word “amazing.”

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is known for its artist community. You can understand the attraction when you see the marvelous views.

Laguna Beach

Some of the views reminded of my visit to the Oregon Coast last year.

Laguna Beach

I love the ocean and can’t enough of it. For the most part I’ve always lived a short distance from the sea. I just need to know I can get there quickly when I need an ocean fix!

Laguna Beach

Tourism is the primary industry with approximately three million people visiting annually.

Laguna Beach

Laguna is famous for the Pageant of the Masters, Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, Art-A-Fair, all of which I have attended over the years.

Laguna Beach

According to Wikipedia “The scenic beauty of the isolated coastline and hills attracted plein-air painters in the early 1900s. William Wendt, Frank Cuprien, and Edgar Payne among others settled there and formed the Laguna Beach Art Association.”

Laguna Beach

Laguna’s coastline is 7 mi (11 km) long and includes 27 beaches and coves.

Laguna Beach

I could imagine sitting here for a few hours absorbing the view. Well, not really as I can’t sit still for very long!

Laguna Beach

If I was on a longer visit I wouldn’t mind joining that couple out on the rocks feeling the surf breaking.

Laguna Beach

How lucky am I to have the opportunity to visit all these beautiful places!
Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach was the southern California epicenter of ‘alternative’ culture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Timothy Leary lived here.

Laguna Beach

A reminder that what we do inland goes into the storm drains and affects the ocean.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has a mild Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine all year. Succulents love living here!

Laguna Beach has a mild Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine all year.

Laguna Beach has a history of environmental stewardship and historic preservation. Laguna Beach is the only Orange County city protected by a dedicated greenbelt inland and bluebelt seaward.

Laguna Beach

Click on one of the photos below for a slide show of way too many photos!!!

I wish there was a Magic Carpet that would take me back here some day soon. But unfortunately as far as I can figure out I will have to drive the 405 freeway. I’ve done the drive before. The last time another driver took out my rear bumper. But I don’t hold that against Laguna Beach!

Although we had only been there a few hours on one day, on the way home I felt like I had been on a week-long cruise through the Mediterranean.

A big thank you to Wikipedia for the information.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Feline Friday – #37 – Christmas cactus

Freddie and Christmas cactus

I have two Christmas cactus plants on my front balcony. One is dark pink as in the photo and the other a pale pink.

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The first plant to bloom was the dark pink. The end of last year it was the most prolific in all the years I have had it. So I decided to take a few photos before it faded.

FF-and-Xmas-cactus-121215-4675-C-600px

A few seconds later, guess who showed up. Yes, Freddie, of course who has to be the star every time I take out my camera!

FF-and-Xmas-cactus-121215-4709-C-600px

Needless to say, I didn’t get too many shots of the cactus.

FF-and-Xmas-cactus-121215-4733-C-600px

The beginning of this year the light pink cactus came into bloom and was also the most gorgeous I have ever seen it. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to photograph it but above are the buds showing their promise.

Freddie and Christmas cactus

That’s okay… we all know Freddie is far more beautiful than any old plant!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Beverly Hills cactus garden

beverly hills cactus gardenBeverly Gardens Park is a narrow stretch that runs the length of Beverly Hills on the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard, about two miles or 23 blocks. It is divided into various sections with different kinds of plants, sculptures and fountains.

The Cactus Garden is located between N. Camden Drive and N. Bedford Drive. It contains desert plants including cactus and succulents.

The photo above and below shows The Church of the Good Shepherd bell tower rising above the trees at the north end.

Church of the Good Shepherd

I love century plants. This one below is the agave americana var. medio-picta – Yellow-Striped Century Plant

Eons ago I worked in Beverly Hills as project manager for an interior design company. I used to enjoy strolling through this park at lunch time.
beverly  gardens cactus gardenI am not a plant expert so I am afraid I can’t tell you what these are… I am sure if I took the time I could find the names but it is already past my bedtime after a very tiring day!

beverly  gardens cactus gardenI love all the plants of the desert, they are the most mysterious and striking of all plant life, in my opinion.

beverly-hills-121414-143-C-850pxAnd who doesn’t love the majestic Washingtonia (Mexican Fan) palm trees?

beverly  gardens cactus garden

beverly  gardens cactus gardenI’ll be posting more photos of other parts of the garden from time to time with more information about the park. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the photos of the Cactus Garden.

beverly-hills-121414-187-C-850px beverly-hills-121414-200-C-850px beverly-hills-121414-206-C-850px beverly-hills-121414-212-C-850px beverly  gardens cactus gardenAll photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Thirsty afternoon in the Desert Garden at the Huntington Library

huntington-library-090414-018-C-850pxI see it’s been a month since I posted on my blog. A lot of things happened and I could write about 30 posts! But for now I’ll keep it down to this one!huntington library cactus garden

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Los Angeles has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to museums, galleries, gardens, parks, etc. And I feel fortunate that I could spend the rest of my life going out every day and visiting these places and still not be done. But because of other responsibilities and priorities I don’t get out and around enough and I am always missing exhibitions and events that I really want to see.

huntington library cactus garden

This fruit looks just like grapes but the sign warns that it is poisonous.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino (next door to Pasadena) is a place I could visit once a week and still find something new. Once a month they have a free day. But you have to be on the phone or email the nanosecond they open up the reservation lines in order to get a ticket. Ticketing opens at 9:00 am the first day of the previous month. By 9:02 am they are sold out! I was lucky enough to score a pass for September 4.

huntington library cactus garden

Getting there from Culver City without a car is quite a trek. But you know I love public transportation so I left my beautiful car at home and set out for a long and twisted journey by train. My ticket was good for a morning entrance anytime before noon. Sometimes in the mornings time gets away from me, and my goodness, it surely did this morning. I knew I had a two and a half hour trip ahead of me and I left the house at 9:30!huntington library cactus garden

A twenty-minute fast walk got me from my front door to the Culver City station platform. Then a change from the Expo Line to the Red Line. Then from the Red Line to the Gold Line. Normally I enjoy all the “training” but this day I was in a sweat because time was ticking by. Not to mention it was a very warm, humid day. We won’t go into that…

huntington library cactus garden

I arrived at my destination, Allen Station in Pasadena, at 11:20. I knew it was a 30 minute walk to the Huntington gate, then probably another ten minutes through the parking lot to the entrance. Huff puff, huff puff. If somebody had thrown a bucket of ice on me at that point I would have been grateful!

huntington library cactus garden

I did see a bus go by but it turned a few blocks ahead of me so it wouldn’t have helped much. I like to walk. I just don’t like it when I have no time to spare.

huntington library cactus garden

I arrived at the entrance minutes before my ticket supposedly expired. I handed it over and the guy didn’t even look at it… gaaah, I could have sauntered in there at 2:00pm and nobody would have cared. Oh well, I know I got there on time and that’s all that counts!

huntington library cactus garden

The park closes at 4:30 so even though I wasn’t there as early as I would have liked (I intended to be there by 10:30) I had several hours to saunter around taking photos. I knew I wasn’t going to hit any of the galleries this time… that will be another blog post. I primarily wanted to take some shots of the Desert Garden as that is my favorite area.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

I don’t know exactly what the temperature was on this day. San Marino, tucked up against the mountains and far, far away from the ocean, can get pretty much beyond my tolerance for heat… which is why I live in a more temperate climate. For instance, today the temperature is soaring to 97 F (36 C) degrees in San Marino and only 85 F (29 C) in Culver City. Anything above 80 F (26 C) degrees makes my blood boil.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

Whatever the temperature was it was certainly perfect for the cacti and other desert plants. I had to take a couple of photos then dive for the nearest patch of shade. I didn’t have water with me but there were drinking fountains in strategic locations which saved me from turning into bacon.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

As you can see, I love taking shots of winding paths and there are plenty in the Desert Garden. It’s easy to get lost!

huntington library cactus garden

The Desert Garden covers ten acres. It began 100 years ago with plants from local nurseries, private residences, public parks, and from collection trips to the Southwest and Mexican deserts. Today it has grown to over 5,000 species.

huntington library desert garden

huntington library desert garden

In our severe Southern California drought, this is the kind of garden we should all have…. dig up your lawns and plant a desert garden!

huntington library desert garden

Desert plants aren’t exactly roses bushes or geraniums in their flowering patterns so when you do see a little splash of color it is that much more exciting.

huntington library desert garden

I think I probably enjoy cactus as I was brought up in England and didn’t see one growing in the wild until I was a teenager. In all their various shapes and configurations, desert plants never cease to fascinate me. If we do find life on Mars my guess is they will be growing cacti in their front yards!

huntington library desert garden

I would have loved to linger longer in the Desert Garden but the heat was really getting to me. The water in the drinking fountains I encountered was warm and I needed deep shade.

huntington library desert garden

So although this bench was tempting for a little rest I decided my best option was to find an area with water… like the lily ponds.

huntington library desert garden

Fortunately the ponds were just a few yards away so I reluctantly said farewell to my prickly friends and headed over there.

huntington library desert garden

I’ll sort through the photos from the rest of my day at the Huntington and be back with some cooler images on another post.

huntington library cactus garden

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the Desert Garden!

huntington library desert garden

huntington library desert garden

huntington-library-090414-185-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-186-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-189-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-191-C-850px

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!