Author Archives: Debra

About Debra

As a native to Southern California I'm interested in the history and geography of the region, with particular attention to how the demands for water have shaped an entire region. I am eclectic in my interests and closely follow history, but with an eye on the future, enjoying as much time as possible with my two granddaughters, children and railroad husband Jay. You may be more interested in getting to know me through stories of our large Sulcata Tortoise, Darwin. We are a very active household.

Week Five: El Niño Report from the Huntington Botanical Gardens

Do you notice anything different about the view this week?


The sunshine is the same. The colors haven’t changed too much. The difference was a bit of a crowd this week. I forgot that the first Thursday of every month offers free admission. It’s a big place. I still found some seclusion.DSC_2826

If you look carefully you can see the snow on the local mountains. We did have some rain last weekend. Not tons. But the snow is a nice touch.

I’ve been noticing this sweet little yellow flower for several weeks now. It’s called Lavender Cotton. That’s much more appealing to me than Santolina chamaecyparissus. I think I’d like to bring some home. It’s cheery!


Color is indeed cheery, but my little dirt-colored sparrow friend brought cheer of his own. While he was enjoying his dirt bath,  I was enjoying the surrounding early spring color of Sugar and Spice Stock. The  rainbow was a feast for my eyes, but the scent caught my attention before I even rounded the corner.

It may only be early February, but this is what spring smells like!


Let’s look at a ‘before” photo while we wait for the roses to bloom. The rose garden, which extends well beyond what I captured in this one photo, contains more than 3,000 individual rose plants and more than 1,200 cultivars.

Blooming should begin in late March, and in our milder climate will extend at least until Thanksgiving. That should give me plenty of time to share some favorites.
DSC_2873I’m also waiting to see what this plant will do. I don’t have much familiarity with lilacs in our hardiness zone, 10a. I took note of this bare plant because of its delightful name.


DSC_2839I have two mature gardenia bushes that may be on their way out. Sadly, although they’re favorites of mine, they haven’t fared well with drought-stress. Maybe introducing this lilac to my garden would bring some exotic fragrance.

On to  the palm gardens!



I passed a young woman sitting on a bench in this more secluded area just reading a book. I think if I bring a book and just sit for a while I really could pretend this is my home. It would be a nice cool spot to enjoy this weekend when temperatures are supposed to be back in the 80s. Yes, you heard that right. 80 degrees Fahrenheit–in February.

Good thing I’m not holding my breath waiting for rain, right?

I think maybe next week we’ll take a little stroll through the Japanese garden.

DSC_2134I’ll plan to wear my sun hat!