I’ve been enjoying frequent afternoon walks in one of my favorite local parks. Lacy Park (San Marino) is over thirty acres of space known for its extensive variety of trees, as well as a lovely rose garden. The park has two walking loops, with the outer loop well shaded by trees, and it’s an enjoyable place for exercise, if I don’t get too distracted by the squirrels and friendly people walking their dogs.
The center green of the park was once a lake, fed by springs and streams that flowed from the mountains. The Gabrielino-Tongva people relied on the area for water. Later when the Spanish Mission San Gabriel came to the area in the 1770s the lower end of the lake was dammed to provide power for a saw mill, wool works and tannery. Water was also pumped through a grist mill.
With my interest in local history I enjoy walking in this park and paying attention to the surroundings.
I did get a little distracted today. Although we’re barely into winter, I caught a little early spring fever. Today was cut back the roses day. In Southern California roses are best pruned between the first of January through February. Generally within one month of the pruning the roses will begin to put out new growth, and as soon as that happens, in my mind it’s spring!
The park grass is brown, many of the trees still bare, and there isn’t much flowering, but the landscapers were in full tilt preparing the beds for what’s to come. I found some lovely blooms that didn’t receive the message that it’s winter and time for them to get a short nap. Even a few stray Iris looked healthy and happy despite the fact that they have usually died back long before Christmas.
I’ll take a photo from time to time and share the park as it comes back to life. The rose garden should be beautiful in another two months, and the grass will turn green and better frame the small grove of palm trees.
There are so many trees in this lovely park, many originally donated by Henry Huntington. One caught my eye today because of its unusual name–Hackberry! What’s a hackberry?
Celtis australis is also known as the European nettle tree, the Mediterranean hackberry, lote tree, or honey berry. The tree is bare right now, but I’ll be looking for signs of life. It should produce small, dark-purple berries that hang in clusters, attracting birds and other wildlife.
So the park is in transition and I’ll be enjoying the changes while I walk the outer loop. I’d probably get a lot more exercise if I didn’t stop every few minutes to read the plant and tree markers. When the grounds are more lush with spring and summer foliage the markers are more difficult to read.
Maybe next time I’ll show you the memorial to General George S. Patton, a native of San Marino. I can feel another history lesson coming on!