New Yorkers rent a car and drive to Connecticut to see the foliage in Autumn. Vermont has picture perfect displays of Fall colors and half the country can claim their surroundings go through the familiar change from verdant to bare, passing through the stages of a million red and brown hues. If you live in Los Angeles, the palm trees (by the way, not indigenous) and the cacti leave you with the impression that seasons don’t touch this corner of the world. The light changes but the leaves, by and large, do not.
If it is Autumn you crave, a trip to the Arboretum in Arcadia might leave you feeling satisfied. Los Angeles is known for its rambunctious wildlife, the in your face nature many tourists mistakenly don’t bother with. The Huntington Museum has a famous cacti and succulent garden, the UCLA has a botanical garden in the middle of campus and there are countless parks, canyons and mountain trails to keep hikers and nature lovers busy for a year.
The Arboretum, on the other hand, is a 127 acres expanse of land just across from the Santa Anita horse racing track, an oasis of plants from all over the world. The space has been organized in plots that melt into each other and that span from a rose garden, to areas dedicated to plants indigenous to Africa and Australia, Ayurvedic plants, succulents and many other varieties botanists would recognize.
On this late Autumn Monday, the place was empty of people but full of spectacular trees whose leaves were in that glorious state of getting ready to fall to the ground but still displaying a riot of colors. My friends and I walked undisturbed for over an hour and a half, loosely following the map the hefty Russian lady at the entrance had given us, not too disappointed anymore the little train that runs every other day of the week was taking its rest on Monday.
A pretty lake, home to geese, ducks and peacocks, was bordered by all kinds of willows. A Victorian house formerly owned by a Mr. Baldwin has been restored to its white and red candy stripe splendour, giving you a glimpse of what it must have been like to party in the countryside at the end of the 1800’s.
310 N. Baldwin Avenue