Above, the South African Lookout
We returned to the Niguel Botanic Reserve, wanting to see the South African Lookout we'd missed on the first visit. Studying the map of the place, we noted there were also a few other things to see that we'd missed--Wollemi pines, for example.
Maps are handy! Beloved navigated.
We walked up to the Lookout.
Below us was the area of the park designed for the non-plant-nerd: sport fields, pool, and the like.
Alas, we discovered the South African Lookout is a planned future expansion. There were two Aloes and a Euphorbia ignens, a couple of Eucalyptus, and...
...a trash barrel. Oh, well. It would be a great space for South African plants someday. I neglected to mention that this Reserve is almost all a volunteer effort. They've done heroic work so far, with little resources. With a much stronger and growing interest in climate-appropriate plants, the future of this place is promising.
We walked on to see a few places we'd also missed on our last visit. That gorgeous Brahea armata by the palm stairway looked even better from a different angle:
Toyon berries are ripening.
We found an Acacia pendula. I got one of these as an Annie's Annual seedling, dithered on where to plant it, and it died in one of our Santa Ana wind events. My bad--beautiful small tree.
Ah, I thought there would be a 'Peaches and Cream' Grevillea somewhere here! We found a big healthy one.
Guessing by the chlorotic foliage, this nearby Grevillea must be 'Superb'. Didn't notice the grass growing in it when I took the photo--the grass might have been carefully removed by someone if I had.
'Peaches and Cream':
Then, then, then...I realized what was growing downhill of 'Peaches and Cream'. Gasp!
Yes, it's what you think it is.
In the most ridiculously luxuriant glorious good health! A whole lot of them! Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'. Looking stupendous. A plant I have killed too many times. How did they do this?
WHAT. DID. I. DO. WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!
It can be grown here, it can, it can. It looked like a part- rather than a full-sun location--is that the trick?
There were three Wollemi pines there also, two still alive, not looking nearly as happy as the 'Cousin Itt's.
Two Wollemis here, if you can pull your eyes from the 'Cousin's. Wollemi (according to the linked article) in their one endemic location in Australia, grow in a low-pH (4.5) soil--difficult to achieve in Southern California.
Oh, good grief. How did they get those Itt's looking so fabulous? I must know!
The plants were happily swallowing up their ID sign. Darn it!
We had to move on before I started screaming.
Ah, the comforting distraction of a Banksia:
It is Salvia leucantha's big moment of beauty all over Southern California. I never tire of it. This version has the purple/violet flower--ours at home is the purple/white combo. There's now a white/pink variation available, but the saturated color of this type is my favorite:
Another Banksia, B. integrifolia, perhaps?
Looking healthy and growing well with 'Canyon Prince' Leymus condensatus and aforementioned Salvia leucantha:
We also visited the small and neglected rose garden, a "childrens garden" in the same condition, and peeked through a fence at the greenhouse propagation area.
The roses were struggling, except of course the ever-amazing 'Iceberg':
New growth emerging on a California native Rhamnus. Autumn into winter and spring is their time to grow:
A beautiful selection of
Hummingbird party time!
We saw this next also in the Huntington Australian garden--
Casuarina equisetifolia ssp. equisetifolia. Pine-like East Asian and Australian genus with interesting cones. This species is classified as invasive in Florida and South Africa. (What isn't invasive in Florida?)
Back near the parking lot, as we left, the very common (for good reason) Callistemnon 'Little John'.
I left pondering those gorgeous 'Cousin Itt's. How? How? How? How did they do Itt?