Niguel Botanical Reserve Part 2

 Above,  Acacia bailyana 'Purpurea'

 After a previous introductory post, this post contains some of the plants in the Niguel Botanical Preserve, roughly by region.   There are areas for each region of the world, mixed-region areas, plus a World Succulents area.  The Chilean area, it appeared from our visit, has yet to be planted significantly.  We missed the "South African Outlook"--we didn't bring a map, but missing it gives me a reason to go back, right? 

The first group are mostly Australian in origin.
This area is labeled as the Australian overlook: 

The Myoporum looks great, but the Banksia is in trouble.
A Calothamnus.  My own plants are much more lush, but they probably get more water. 
Darwinia citriodora (prostrate form), a very attractive low spreading shrub in the myrtle family.  The foliage has a delicate lemon scent.
Huh...what's I dare stray off the path for a look?
Oooh baby, that pretty!  This is Banksia heliantha, formerly known as Dryandra quercifolia.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this gorgeous?  The foliage is as cool as the flower--or the other way round.
Dryandra, a group of more than ninety species, was recently recategorized into Banksia.
Hey, that's Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon'! 
Hey, that's Maireana sedifolia!  I could be in my own garden if my own garden was 18 acres and I would allow the presence of Eucalyptus globulus and California trash palms.   
Hakea orthorryncha:
Firewheel Tree, Stenocarpus sinuatus, in flower.
 Now for a few species from around or near the Mediterranean Sea, like Echium fastuosum.  The plants were large, five or six feet across.  They will bloom in a few months.  This one stem was early:
 This terrace was styled to be classic Mediterranean with boxwood and Italian Cypress surrounded by an Italian style balustrade. 
 What with the Australian Eucalypts, yellow flowered South African Tecoma capensis, and Bougainvillea 'Rosenka', it illustrates that Mediterranean plants live happily together despite their origin in far flung locations.

 Some of the palms were Mediterranean in origin, others California, and some were not palms at all, but rather Cycads from South Africa.
 There was a palm stairway.  Repeated in a couple other places, the idea of placing one type of plant along a stairway or path was very effective.  There was also a Cordyline/Grass stairway, as well as the Lagerstoemia path from the previous post on this Reserve. 
Cordylines and grasses provide a different mood for a different stairway:

South Africa had many representative species.  Even though we missed the "South African Overlook" section, there were plenty of South African plants elsewhere in the Preserve.  Proteas...
 Mostly small, recently planted Proteas that needed more water to establish than they were getting.

Leucospermums.  I really was starting to feel like I was in my own garden, because I grow many of the plants in this garden, (though not all 2,000 species).    
Give these room, okay? 
 Some beautiful Encephalartos, looking really happy.
 Crassula, Aloes, Aloidendrons
Unfortunately we spotted some Aloe mite infected flowers.  Somehow the infected bits ended up sealed in a plastic bag and placed into a trash barrel.  Whoever did that was simply trying to protect the rest of the collection. 
 California was well represented by many native oaks, shrubs including Ceanothus, Rhamnus, Rhus.  This oak was underplanted with Agaves from Mexico and Aloes from south Africa.  
Speaking of Agaves,  there was one section of what might be called open Oak and Pine forest, with pines of California (Torrey) and the Mediterranean region (Aleppo, Canary Island).  Open Oak and Pine forest in Mexico is the native landscape in which some of Mexico's Agaves are found.  
 Agaves could be happy here:
 Crows in Oaks
 Quercus x macdonaldii, a naturally occurring hybrid of Q. berberidifolia and Q. lobata.
 A view of the local landmark known as Mount Saddleback
 Formerly Zauchneria californicum, now Epilobium canum mexicanum, or it is the other way round?  The orange flowers are a hummingbird delight. 
Constancea nevinii.  The bright yellow flowers are striking, but the silver-white foliage is even more stunning.  I've thought about adding this beautiful native to my own garden several times, but it gets quite large.
Paired with that silver-white foliage, even the dried out flowers, chocolatey-brown, are attractive.
 Cercocarpus thraskiae, Catalina Island Mahogany:
Mimulus species:
Erigeron glaucus, California Seaside Daisy, still blooming after a long summer of heat and drought:

I hope this post gives you an idea of how many wonderful and climate appropriate plants there are to see and enjoy at the Niguel Botanical Reserve.  With cooler weather and rain on the way (or so we fantasize),  the Ceanothus, the Aloes, the Leucospermums, and many other plants will soon be in bloom.  I hope you locals can find time to visit.  I need to get back there myself, to find that elusive South African Outlook, and see what is there. 


  1. Dear Hoover, so many interesting and beautiful plants, trees and flowers. Very similar to the bushland which is close to my property, some good rain makes a big difference to the density of the growth and the green foliage.
    I love exploring the bushland and the Native Plant Nursery. :-)
    xoxoxo. ♡

    1. It must be a fantastic place to explore, Dianne! Enjoy it for us Proteacaea lovers far away.

  2. Unfortunately this looks to be just a little further south than our typical L.A. area visits would allow me to easily venture. What a shame as it looks like a wonderful place with far more Australian/South African plants than some of the other gardens I've been to.

    Banksia heliantha...yes quite gorgeous! And that Encephalartos...was it the plant or your photographic skills? Either way it's one of the best I've seen. And I love that you cleaned up the mite infected bits, good steward that you are.

    1. Whoever might have removed the mite infected bits, they were only intending to protect other aloes nearby.

      I pondered the Encephalartos carefully because it was so healthy and happy...flawless, really. Not a mark or brown spot on it. It looked to be placed with early morning sun and afternoon shade. There was another about 10' away in the same state, also flawless. I would like to add one to the front slope, but am running out of space.

  3. Now I *REALLY* want to go there. What a wonderful collection of plants.

    Banksia heliantha is a beauty. I have a Banksia nivea, but that's the only dryandra I've ever come across.

    Is that Acacia baileyana getting ready to flower? Isn't it the wrong time of year? OTOH, I saw a Mariosousa willardiana (acacia from Sonora, MX) in full bloom at the Ruth Bancroft Garden last weekend.

    1. I was wondering where they got the plants they have--some awesome ones. They are outdoing the Huntington and LA Arboretum with Australian and Fynbos plants at this point.

      The real shock is that this place has mostly been done by a handful of volunteers! Must find out more.

      I stood and looked at the A. baileyana trying to figure out if it was long finished blooming or getting ready. I think it's getting ready. It could be a while because it's so dry.

  4. Definitely worth a visit! That Banksia heliantha is a beauty. They have the room to let all these plants grow like they're supposed to.

    1. Some of the pleasure was the room itself. The place is really still developing.

  5. You're a fantastic tour guide, thanks for all the ID's. My little constancea made it through summer but doesn't look happy, and I note the blooms on Niguel's specimen this time of year, kind of unseasonal? My baileyana acacia is budding up for bloom like this one. Yes, that B. heliantha is a heartbreaker!

    1. There were dried Constancea flowers, and apparently also a fresh second round--possibly due to the cooler nights of the past few weeks, which has spurred a lot of flowers in my garden. Just guessing.


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