A couple of bloggers from north of here, visiting the Huntington Australian Garden, expressed disappointment. Agreed. The LA Arboretum Australian garden is better. The San Diego Botanical Garden also has a well-developed collection with considerable variety of specimens--fabulous Banksias--probably even better than the Arboretum.
Brachychiton acerifolius grows big. This one at the Huntington is about 50-60' tall (15-18 meters). In their native habitat they can grow to a height of 130 feet (40 meters).
The seed pods are like canoes.
The leaves are on the same scale as the tree.
The Huntington has Auracarias, Podocarpus, and Wollemi pines, besides Eucalyptus, Acacia, and Brachychitons.
Big, big, big trees. The area deemed Australian has been somewhat cleared and cleaned up over the past couple of years, with pathways now defined. I think they got rid of many of the Eucalyptus globulous that were long time residents. Walking through the area about ten years ago, I remember scruffy Eucalyptus above, Eucalyptus litter below, and nothing else (and remember thinking...that's it? Eucalyptus?) Paths are an improvement.
Lately, on several visits to the Huntington, we've carefully looked over what is there (big trees! empty space!) and what is missing (most everything else).
Some nice Anigozanthos, though:
On November 30, 2011, a powerful wind storm blew over or significantly damaged four hundred trees at the Huntington. Since then, budget has gone into replacement of those trees. The generous mulch added to the Rose Garden over the past few years were the ground up trees felled by that storm. Where there are ninety foot trees and plentiful visitors, trees need to be sound and healthy. There is work being performed on the area. New plants are being added--slowly. Much work remains to be done.
New trees are now appearing in the Australian garden. For example, a new trio of Stenocarpus sinuatus, just since our last visit a couple or three weeks ago.
Another Stenocarpus sinuatus, surrounded by Grevillea 'Moonlight'
New cycads, recently added. Australian or Mexican? The Australian area is adjacent to the tropical Mexico area and they merge at their edges.
There are new Grevilleas and Hakeas as well.
Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'
Another happy healthy mass of Anigozanthos. Is the trick to a happy Anigozanthos mass planting?
Silver Acacia, Acacia artemisioides. Fabulous foliage...
Think it reseeds at all?
We'll watch how the Australian area advances over the next few years. With the recent and increasing popularity of Australian plants in Southern California gardens, coupled with the latest California drought, the Huntington is playing catch-up. There is vast empty space ready to fill. I recently noticed plenty of Australian plants being propagated in the Huntington greenhouses--surely some of them are intended for the collection. For now, the Australian garden lags behind others in Southern California, but the potential for a fabulous collection is there. Will it happen? We'll update.