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  1. #1

    • Joe Flowers
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    Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Since it's another beautiful day in Southern California, we decided to go outside and enjoy it.
    Theresa's parents are visiting from Michigan and boy did they pick the right time to visit. It's just about 32 degrees during the day there, but we've got sunshine and 70 degrees here.

    Today we're visiting the local botanic gardens in Palos Verdes, South Coast Botanic Garden.

    Just minutes from our house, this 87 acre garden holds over 2500 different species of plants.

    We happened to time our visit well and discovered many beautiful flowering plants and trees.
    Theresa described this flower as "perfect".

    One regret I do have, that Theresa told me I should be doing but I didn't listen, was to take photos of the names of all these various plants. So sadly while there are plenty of beautiful flowers, that's all I'll really be able to tell you about them.

    Some flowers are crazy looking. Not only does this have thousands of stamens exploding out everywhere...

    But it also produces some kind of berry.

    We also happened to show up at just the right time of the day at 11:15am since the very first tram tour started at 11:30.

    The tram tour was a great way to discover the gardens. Our guide kept cracking us up with statements like "This is a Pony Tail Palm. It's called that because, um, well I don't know why they call it that." He kept us entertained this way the whole time and it made the tram tour a lot of fun.

    Once we finished the tram tour, it was time to start exploring on our own.

    One of the highlights of the day were the Japanese Cherry trees. We lucked out and there were a lot of trees in full bloom!


    Once we got close to the tree, you could hear a very audible humming coming from it. Not only were we enjoying all these blooms, the local bees were having a field day. Hundreds or maybe even thousands of bees were flying from blossom to blossom, completely ignoring everything else, including any photographers who wanted to get super close.

    Again, sorry for not getting names of these beautiful trees. You'll just have to enjoy the pictures.


    Theresa liked this bush because it had green, yellow and red all going on together.

    Everywhere you looked, there was something pretty.

    This tree looked like it decided to just start growing out instead of growing up.

    I think these trees are really cool with their roots growing a foot above the ground. I'm just really glad I don't have any in my yard.


    One massive tree that looks absolutely evil is this White Floss Silk Tree.

    The entire trunk is covered in massive thorns. I touched a few of them and they are terribly sharp with no flexibility in them at all.

    Theresa thought these looked "fake". They do look plasticky in a way, plus what would be the purpose of the little pine cone looking thing on the end.

    We saw this blossoming cherry tree while on the tram and knew we'd have to come back to see it. It looks like there were two trees grafted together, creating one tree that produced normal blossoms, as well as bright pink blossoms.

    After seeing the buds, Theresa suggested renaming this the peppermint cherry tree since they resemble the candies.

    And once they open, they turn into these beautiful flowers.



    Very pretty.

    Who would have thought we would make a Disney reference while we were here. In Walt Disney World resort in Florida at the Animal Kingdom back in the Africa section of the park, there is a tree with these giant pods hanging down. It's so strange looking it almost looks fake. We've wondered what it was called while we were there, but who would have guessed we'd find the answer on the other side of the US. This is called a Kigelia, also known as a Sausage Tree.

    Flowers like this make me start thinking I might want to buy more photography equipment. This tiny flower is no more than 3/4" across. The only way I could get my lens to focus was to stand 6 feet away and zoom in, then crop the photo later. Maybe I should get a macro lens....

    After finishing the mile long loop, we explored the local garden area.





    I think this is a Magnolia tree.

    The blossoms are beautiful.



    So what did we think of our time at the South Bay Botanic Garden? We thought it was great! As we were leaving, we stopped by to upgrade out $8 / person entrance fee to a $50 per year family membership. We'll be back!
    Here's hoping the next time their rose garden will be in bloom!

  2. #2

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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    I thought I was the only one who took reference pictures of the plaques with their names.... Zoos are another good place for that.

    The pink flower tree I think is an orchid tree. Magnolias have giant white waxy looking flowers and large deep green leaves. Both trees are *beautiful*.
    I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

  3. #3

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Quote Originally Posted by alphabassetgrrl View Post
    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    I thought I was the only one who took reference pictures of the plaques with their names.... Zoos are another good place for that.

    The pink flower tree I think is an orchid tree. Magnolias have giant white waxy looking flowers and large deep green leaves. Both trees are *beautiful*.
    Just goes to show I need to listen to my wife more.

  4. #4

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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Your wife is a wise woman.

    Quote Originally Posted by mre200200 View Post
    Just goes to show I need to listen to my wife more.
    I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

  5. #5

    • aka 'KiMcHeE'
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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Thanks mre200200 for another awesome trip report! Your photos are fantastic as always! I'm such a huge fan of all your pictures . If you don't mind me asking, what lenses were you using? You have quite a variety of shots (i.e. wide, zoomed, macro). You must be carrying quite a hefty photo bag! I also noticed in one of the photos the sky is quite blue! Did you also use a polarizer in most of your photos?

  6. #6

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Quote Originally Posted by KiMcHeEfOrLiFe View Post
    Thanks mre200200 for another awesome trip report! Your photos are fantastic as always! I'm such a huge fan of all your pictures . If you don't mind me asking, what lenses were you using? You have quite a variety of shots (i.e. wide, zoomed, macro). You must be carrying quite a hefty photo bag! I also noticed in one of the photos the sky is quite blue! Did you also use a polarizer in most of your photos?
    Glad you liked it!
    For this trip, I wasn't sure what lenses I would need, so I brought all of them. There's an 8mm Rokinon (after reading the reviews and seeing the pictures from Tom Bricker), a Canon 10-22mm (which ends up being my walking around lens), a Sigma 30mm f/1.4, plus a Canon 70-200mm for all the close-ups. On top of all that, I brought my tripod, which probably wasn't necessary since most of my shots were in the bright daylight.
    I have a messenger style photo bag that I throw over one shoulder that carries everything pretty well.

    You're right about the polarizing filter and one of the best things I found was a step down ring for it. Now I only have to buy one polarizer for my biggest lens, then a cheap $10 ring to make it fit any of my other lenses.

  7. #7

    • aka 'KiMcHeE'
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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Quote Originally Posted by mre200200 View Post
    Glad you liked it!
    For this trip, I wasn't sure what lenses I would need, so I brought all of them. There's an 8mm Rokinon (after reading the reviews and seeing the pictures from Tom Bricker), a Canon 10-22mm (which ends up being my walking around lens), a Sigma 30mm f/1.4, plus a Canon 70-200mm for all the close-ups. On top of all that, I brought my tripod, which probably wasn't necessary since most of my shots were in the bright daylight.
    I have a messenger style photo bag that I throw over one shoulder that carries everything pretty well.

    You're right about the polarizing filter and one of the best things I found was a step down ring for it. Now I only have to buy one polarizer for my biggest lens, then a cheap $10 ring to make it fit any of my other lenses.
    Thanks for sharing your equipment! I have a 50mm f/1.8 and a 18-200mm lens that I always carry around with me in my bag. I love the look of wide angle shots and I really want to invest in an ultra wide lens. They just look so cool! I really love what your polarizer did to the colors in your photos. I have a polarizer for my 18-200mm lens. When I bought that lens on Amazon, it for some reason came with a polarizer. I never really used it but after looking through these photos, I think I might have to start using it more! Also, I had no idea there's an adapter ring that let's you use bigger sized filters on smaller lens! I'm going to have to research that! Thanks for the info!

  8. #8

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Quote Originally Posted by alphabassetgrrl View Post
    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    I thought I was the only one who took reference pictures of the plaques with their names.... Zoos are another good place for that.

    The pink flower tree I think is an orchid tree. Magnolias have giant white waxy looking flowers and large deep green leaves. Both trees are *beautiful*.
    Well that mystery has been solved. I'm used to seeing Magnolias with the same kind of flower as well, but I could have sworn I saw a sign that said it was. On Sunday, Theresa and I headed back and I remembered to take a photo of the sign this time.



    Might as well continue another trip report from there.
    It's a beautiful day in Southern California. After getting a year membership to South Coast Botanic Garden last weekend, we decided we should come back for a Sunday picnic lunch.
    I hope all these plants aren't upset at us for eating salad in front of them...
    We enjoyed a tasty lunch of spinach salad, rotisserie chicken, Hawaiian rolls, and then for dessert Theresa made chocolate covered strawberries! Mmm.

    What a difference a week makes. The blossoming cherry trees that were exploding with blossoms and color last week are starting to become more bare.

    Though there are a few clusters that are still hanging on.

    A lot of the blossoms are on the ground now. It was quite peaceful though sitting at the base of these trees eating lunch, when a gust of wind comes along and suddenly you're surrounded by blossoms.

    We headed back to the car to drop off our picnic items and then headed back inside to enjoy all the spring flowers.

    Last week I was trying to figure out how to get some closer shots of the flowers. After researching it online during the week, there are a few options at my disposal including either buying a new macro lens or buying an extension tube that will fit my previous lenses and allow closer focusing. There was one thing I already had though that I wasn't even considering. I have a 2x teleconverter for my 70-200mm lens to help me zoom even further. One unexpected benefit I discovered was that it also lets you stand just as close as you would for the 70-200mm lens but everything is 2 times bigger on the sensor.

    Theresa and I wandered through the gardens row by row looking for pretty flowers. Eventually we're thinking of using some of these to decorate the walls of our house.

    I really did look for signs this time so I could put names to all these flowers, but sadly they weren't listed.



    I have to thank my lovely assistant Theresa for most of these flower pictures. You can't see it because I've cropped it out, but her fingers were in most of these photos. She would point the flower into the sun to keep the shadows to a minimum, while I angled for the best view.

    We wandered along the paved road, but then I noticed a small dirt trail that led up into the trees. Being the adventurous explorers that we are, we braved the trail and came upon a small grove of orange trees. Needless to say, Theresa was excited because she loves trees that produce fruit.

    I can't remember a time I've ever seen a mulberry bush. This one hasn't produced any berries yet, so we'll have to come back again later.



    One place we didn't visit last time was the greenhouse. They've got some really interesting things growing in here. Not a single label to be found in here though.

    This plant had a super bright pink frond with little purple flowers sprouting off that. How interesting!

    Theresa did not like this one at all. She said it reminded her too much of snake skin.


    This flower looks to be inverted from all the others we've seen. The petals are all facing backwards.


    Theresa enjoys these little creepers that curl up and form spirals.


    As we left the greenhouse, we came upon a butterfly enjoying the flowers. They're all over the place here. Maybe that can be another theme on our wall at home.

    Goodbye Miss Butterfly (and yes I did look it up to see what the differences were between males and females).

    As we were heading back to the entrance, there was one more interesting flower Theresa saw. And it even had a bee enjoying it.


    I think we've found another great hangout to go along with the beach and Disneyland.


  9. #9

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    Re: Joe's South Coast Botanic Garden visit

    Interesting- I didn't know magnolias came in pink!

    The one with the backwards petals looks like a passionflower.

    The pink one above the butterfly looks like a cyclamen.

    Gorgeous shots! I definitely need to go check this out.
    I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

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