Eco-Road Trip – South Coast Botanic Garden

South Coast Botanic Garden – Summary:

  • Who: N/A
  • What: Toured the South Coast Botanic Garden
  • When: Monday, April 2
  • Where: Los Angeles, CA

Quick Resources:

My Route:

Planning my Eco-Inspired Road Trip Blog Post


My Travel Story:

My original plans for the day to visit CalEarth were miscalculated and fell through, and so did last minute plans to see local friends.

So I searched for other destinations in the area, and came across the South Coast Botanic Garden, which was originally an open-pit mining operation turned city landfill turned botanical gardens.

This is the map of the South Coast Botanic Garden, which I’m sure I walked most of the garden trails!

On the back side of the map was a visual timeline of the South Coast Botanic Garden, from mining pit to city landfill to the current beautiful botanic gardens!


The gardens had a variety of plants from across the world and separated them into different featured collections like the Children’s Garden, Sensory Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Desert Gardens, Rare Fruity Orchard, and a new Rose Garden exhibit.

The South Coast Botanic Garden did a great job with children’s activities, with themes like Superheros and Woodland Fairies, while also balancing it out with adults just wanting to enjoy the gardens or those seeking horticultural knowledge.

There were also plenty of plants for sale as part of their initiative to share plants with other, which tied into the gift shop.

Here is the Fuchsia Garden, featuring hanging planter boxes next to the Japanese garden koi pond.

Another view of a garden space from the main walk way. Most of the gardens had similar layouts with interior seating and winding walking trails throughout the beds.

A scene from Little Bo-Peep as one of the many fairy tale themes in the children’s garden!

The South Coast Botanic Garden also does a great job with educational exhibits, like this composting demonstration site, and they also have frequent workshops and guest speakers for the general public.

Here are some of the California native wildflowers! (I hope these are in my Bloom Project Seed Packet!)

I had never seen so many varieties of cacti in my life, especially the ones that were as big as trees!

“The sausage tree of sub-Saharan Africa is beautiful in flower. The blood-red to maroon flowers hang in long panicles. The fragrance of the flower is not pleasing to humans but attracts the Dwarf Epauletted Fruitbat (Micropteropus pusillus), its pollinator. As the flowers drop from the tree, animals come to feed on the nectar-rich blooms. Impala, duiker, baboons, bush pigs, and lovebirds all feed on the flowers of the Sausage tree. Grey fruits grow out of these flowers. These grey fruits resemble sausages and can grow for months to become over a foot long and weigh over 10 pounds.” — Kruger National Park Webpage

I was really pleased with how the “Garden for the Senses” at the South Coast Botanic Garden was laid out with labels for the specific senses involved with the plants.

Here’s a look of one of the sensory garden beds, and the white labels for the senses next to the name of the plant.

The rose garden was a recent addition since the previous roses caught and spread a disease – so they all had to be removed. I can imagine this will be a beautiful sight, especially as a wedding venue.

The Banyan tree forest was pretty amazing! “Banyans are strangler figs. They grow from seeds that land on other trees. The roots they send down smother their hosts and grow into stout, branch-supporting pillars that resemble new tree trunks” — Under the Banyan Blog

Here I am at the top of the path from the lower dried-up pond, which hasn’t been full in many years.

The Palm Tree grove was also impressive, as they were taller than the palms I’ve seen before. (10 surprising facts about palm trees)

Before I left, I circled around to the Cherry Trees in blossom – which were the main theme of the South Coast Botanic Garden this time of year.

After the South Coast Botanic Garden, I had a few hours to kill since none of the local museums were open on Mondays and I didn’t want to go into L.A. and risk getting stuck in rush hour traffic. So I went to a movie theater and saw Pacific Rim 2 – a movie about the dangers of ocean oil drilling. (Just kidding!)

That night Joey’s family made Mexican food and we watched Jesus Christ Superstar before we went to sleep.


More about South Coast Botanic Garden:

Garden Highlights

Covering 87 acres, the South Coast Botanic Garden offers a wide variety of blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers all year. Visit the Garden often and you won’t miss out! Right now the garden has transitioned from the spring bloom time into early summer, and everywhere you look is color. Our flowering fruit trees look spectacular, but they won’t last long. Be sure to plan a trip to the Garden soon, we look forward to seeing you here.

  • Banyan Grove
    The highlight of the Ficus collection is the grove of Moreton Bay Fig trees that cover the area with a massive tangle of roots. In the spring, colorful Clivias brighten the understory of this shady grove.
  • California Native Plants
    Growing California native plants in the Garden offers many benefits: they use less water; they provide habitat and food for birds, bees, butterflies, and other wildlife; they have colorful flower displays from spring to summer and berries and seeds into the fall and winter. There are several areas of the Garden where you can find California Native Plants in the landscape and gardens. The primary areas are the landscaping around the Greenhouse Complex, the Mediterranean Garden, and the El Rincon Garden at the corner of the Tram Road and the Service Yard road marked by the rustic lodge pole pergola.
  • Children’s Garden and Children’s Discovery Garden
    Our most popular among young people, this garden is developed around nursery rhymes with plants to match the stories. An enchanted dollhouse and bridge enhance the setting. Adjacent to the Children’s Garden is the Discovery Garden with a secret tunnel, worm bin, alphabet garden, butterfly garden, and whimsical characters.
  • Desert Garden
    The Desert Garden includes cacti, euphorbia, aloes, and other succulents. The garden is an excellent exhibition of specimens from the United States, Africa, Mexico, and South America.
  • Display Greenhouse
    The Display Greenhouse is open to the public from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm daily. Designed with the color palette in mind, the colors range from warm to cool tones. Inside the greenhouse you will find a display of a variety of tropical plants such as: Adenium, Anthurium, Begonia, Bromeliad, Carnivorous plants, Cordyline, Croton, Orchids, Hoya, and Passionflower vine.
  • Fuchsia Garden
    Established and maintained by the South Coast Branch of the National Fuchsia Society, this garden contains many different species, cultivars, and new introductions. Overhead shade cloth filters strong sunlight to allow fuchsias and other shade-loving plants to thrive.
  • Garden for the Senses
    This garden encourages you to enjoy plants and flowers by smell, touch, sound, and sight. Plants are arranged in raised beds so they can easily be touched or smelled. Individual plant labels identify which senses the plant engages.
  • Japanese Garden/Koi Pond
    Enjoy listening to the calming sounds of water and taking in the subdued palette of evergreen shrubbery embracing the Koi Pond. The stone lanterns were crafted of Okazaki Stone over 200 years ago in a region said to be the capital of Japan’s stone craft.
  • Mediterranean Garden
    Mediterranean refers to a unique climate consisting of mild, cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers seen in only five places in the world: coastal California, the Mediterranean Basin, southwest Australia, the southwest Cape of South Africa, and coastal Chile. California native plants are emphasized here. Mediterranean plants are environmentally friendly because they require very little supplemental water once established. Native plants have the added benefit of providing food and shelter to wildlife and pollinators.

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