Can you name the five Mediterranean regions of the world? Coastal California, the Southwestern Cape area of South Africa, Coastal Western Australia, Coastal Chile, and...uh...erm...oh yeah, the area around the Mediterranean Sea.
Banksia heliantha (Australia):
Two thousand(!) species of plants from these five regions are the focus of the eighteen-acre Niguel Botanical Preserve in Laguna Niguel, California, which we visited on Sunday.
Aloidendrons and Aloes (South Africa):
The Preserve is part of a larger public park also home to baseball and football (soccer) fields, a children's play area, a public pool, and other community facilities.
Quercus suber (Southwest Europe, Northwest Africa)
Multiple trails run through the Preserve.
The most common trees in the Preserve include Eucalyptus globulous, various Palms, California native oaks, and multiple species of California and Mediterranean pines. There are also Italian Cypress, Brachychitons (Australia), Aloidendrons (South Africa) and the non-Mediterranean trees Lagerstroemia (China) and Jacaranda (Argentina).
Pink flowering Brachychiton discolor. Callistemon vilimnalis behind left, with Eucs and Q. agrifolia in the background. A home on the other side of the canyon is visible at middle far right:
A young-ish Quercus agrifolia. This species can live six hundred years. This tree may be about fifty.
The colors of a California October:
At the base of the Preserve is an amphitheater for summer concerts. This is an application for which turf grass is appropriate. The entire park was recently converted to use recycled, non-potable water for irrigation. For turf, non-potable irrigation is placed underneath the grass; from the perfect condition of the turf it appears to cover a perfectly arranged system of drip lines. Sprinklers are never so even in their application.
Rather than a wading pool, for small children there is an attraction called a "sprayground". It must have been packed with children last weekend when temperatures were in the upper 90's.
It looked like a lot of fun. I would think more than a few adults would have been in there, too. Splash-loving Natasha would have gone nuts, but the facility does not allow dogs. Too bad.
Nice gates! Laser-cut steel welded on to conventional wrought iron.
Around the sprayground, a somewhat formally planted collection of Australian plants, including Lomandra, Westringia, and a groundcover Myoporum.
A trail leading up to the Preserve at the west end of the park near the sprayground is planted on either side with Lagerstroemias. Unfortunately the trees were not getting sufficient water to hold much foliage. Lagerstroemias have low-water requirements once they are thoroughly established, but these trees were too young to be thoroughly established.
Each tree had a plaque at its base to honor a local person. Rather a sweet idea in this age that has shifted from civic pride to every-American-for-himself.
Closer to the center of the park are other trails leading uphill, with shaded benches. All very nicely done.
We began our ascent into the Preserve at a different entrance, a bit further north of the bears, into a forest of Jacaranda, Sycamore, and Oak.
Oaks, Aloes, Proteas and Palms...in the next post. There's a lot to see.