RMW: the blog

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


Beauty around the neighborhood

As a member of the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, I miss strolling through the acres of plants, trees and flowers during the closure. In the meantime I feel fortunate to live in a beautiful neighborhood where a lot of homeowners take their landscaping seriously. Last Saturday I took my 50mm fixed lens for a stroll along Braddock, looped around Carlson Park and back along Farragut… a little over 2 miles.

Here are the results:

When I first bought the 50mm (1.4) lens I thought I had made a mistake. I didn’t like being trapped in that focal length after being used to my go-to 18-135mm lens. But as usual, with the camera equipment I buy, I left it too long to return the lens. So I had to make the best of it. Now it’s my second favorite lens next to my zoom. It forces me to see everything from one perspective. I have to physically walk up to my subjects or back up to get the view I want. It’s a challenge I enjoy.

Within the next week or so I intend to retrace my footsteps with my 18-135mm lens and see what I can capture at the wide angle and telephoto ends. Of course when I walk the neighborhood I am safe. I am wrapped up from head to toe like a mummy. I am sure I look like the angel of death with a black hat, black face mask, scarf, wearing a high neck sweater and jacket, etc. I notice since I have been wearing my face mask people tend to distance themselves from me more often, which is fine with me!

During this strange time in our lives we need all the beauty we can get. I hope you can all step (safely) outside in your own neighborhoods to appreciate the gifts nature gives us.


Countdown: my favorite dozen 2018 photos and a bonus

life is a canvas

San Gabriel Mountains from my roof deck in Culver City.

As if I don’t have enough to do, I decided to set myself the task of coming up with my twelve favorite photos for the year… one for each month. Some months I had fifty favorites and some months I wouldn’t have picked one for my top twelve… nevertheless I had to stick to my rule of one from each month. This exercise was a great lesson for me as I realized some months in 2018 I didn’t get out and about enough with my camera and I really struggled to find a photo. I need to be more consistent.

The above photo was taken from my roof deck on Christmas Day and is my New Year’s card to you all. One of my favorite quotes just happened to be floating around in the sky! Note the airplane just left of top center.

So here we go.



Sunrise with resident crows from my roof deck, Culver City, California


Yosemite Upper Falls framed by tree branch. Yosemite National Park, California


Huntington Library

Desert Garden at Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Los Angeles County, California


Freddie and Frankie

A little out of focus but this photo really shows their true personalities. Frankie looking disdainful and obviously planning the next mischievous caper while Freddie is wide-eyed and innocent, ready to be splat in the middle of Frankie’s next big idea!


worthing seafront

Worthing Seafront, Sussex, England. The last place my parents and I lived before they decided to emigrate to the US.


butterfly pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum


deck sunset

Sunset from my deck looking out on to downtown Culver City and Sony Studios


canadian rockies

Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canadian Rockies


william s hart

The William S. Hart Park and Museum, Newhall, California. Detail of wall



Los Angeles Flower mart

Succulents at Los Angeles Flower Mart, downtown


City Hall Christmas Eve

An early Christmas present to the people of LA as the tree at Grand Park mirrors Los Angeles City Hall.


View from Baldwin Overlook

View of downtown Los Angeles and snow on the mountains from the highest point in Culver City, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (a California State Park).

I haven’t been on WordPress very much lately. I haven’t given up but I made a big decision and it’s going to be taking up a lot of my time. I probably won’t be posting much here but I will make the effort to go look at your posts to keep up with what you are doing. In the meantime, you can join me on my personal page on Facebook (Roslyn M Wilkins in Culver City). If you send me a friend request and I recognize who you are, I will respond. Or join me on my photo page by clicking on the Roslyn’s Photoart image in the right hand column.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!



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!


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





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!