Are you ready for your exhale? I think even Darwin needs one.

I am. Ready for my weekend exhale, that is. I had a very full day today following a very full week. Today was the long anticipated trip to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. Since the La Brea site is home to over a million ice age fossils from 650 species, I absorbed a fair amount of information today…and took a few photos.

For those who enjoy paleontology and imagining what Los Angeles was like 44,000 years ago, I’ll have more photos next week.

As much as I love the tar pits and all the accompanying history and prehistory, bubbling goo isn’t all that beautiful. And going into the weekend, I’d like a few photos that bring to mind a breathe lighter moment.

I admired the gorgeous orange flower clusters on a tree I couldn’t identify. I pass the neighborhood trees every day, but I’d never before seen them with such a bright flame of color.

Silky Oaks at Country Club

I was on a quest to identify the tree. I even flagged down a groundsman on the Country Club property, but he couldn’t help me.

Silky Oaks 2

My mom turned out to be the best detective! What a good idea–call the arborists responsible for tree maintenance. And so she did.

Grevillea robusta

Grevillea robusta, or silky oak, is a beautiful tree, especially in spring bloom. Also called Australian Silver Oak, it is a native of eastern coastal Australia.

I think it’s beautiful. But apparently, not everyone is quite as fond. I found a review on one of my favorite gardening sites, Dave’s Garden. 

I’ll leave you with a little humor coming from someone less pleased with the aesthetic qualities of the silky oak.

“Hi, I live north of San Francisco , and I have to tell you this is a messy, ugly tree. I just had it cut down today! it was 45′ tall and just crapped all over my deck, and my neighbors deck, all year round. It drops leaves, it drops flowers, it drops seeds. And it almost never looses [sic] all its seeds, so, The tree looks so shoddy. I have lived at my house for 6 years and I wanted to cut it down after the first year. I truly despised this tree. And now its gone, good riddens [sic]. Please, think twice if you plan to add this tree to your property. Take a look at this tree before you buy. Or, if you buy this tree, buy a rake, you will need it.”

Australian Oak

And here I thought it was a really beautiful tree.

Have a wonderful weekend…with a good long exhale. Apparently Darwin needs one, too. I caught him hiding under the bushes this week.

Darwin in hiding

He was so camouflaged I almost couldn’t find him. We’ll spend some time with him this weekend, and he’ll be good as new! That’s what a weekend can do for you…so enjoy!

I take my field trips seriously so I have my weekend exhale all lined up!

I feel like Monday through Thursday rolls through like a blur. My work schedule requires an early morning departure and proscribed regularity to my daily rhythms. One or two afternoons and early evenings a week are spent with my two darling granddaughters. They live about an hour away, so travel time makes for additionally long days.

But Friday is MY day.

I usually have a whole host of chores and duties I’ve told myself all week I’ll attend to on Friday.

Thank you for not holding me accountable.

I needed to take photos of my neighbor’s Iris. I love the colors!

I also needed to take advantage of my blogging team of experts. Once in a while, not often, we have a visit from some birds I can’t identify. But I’m thinking you probably can.

Unidentified BirdI watched them play on my lawn for about an hour. I hope you can tell me what to call them?

Well, the day went on from there, but you’ll have to hear more about that later. We had an errand to run, and just a wee bit of distance from that destination was another photo opportunity to punctuate a story I’m eager to share.

Oh the things I avoid do in service of my very serious blogging responsibilities. Better yet, I dragged Jay into my adventure and took up his time, too! I hope you’ll think it was worth it. I do!

Tomorrow is also full of fun–at least my kind of fun. The schedule calls for appreciating the hard work of others!

The Theodore Payne Foundation offers its annual garden tour. What makes this particular garden tour special  and of interest to me is that each of the gardens on the tour contains at least 50% native plants. Many of the gardens have also been certified as National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitats.

I can hardly wait. Photography is encouraged, so I’ll have more to share.

I’m looking for both ideas and personal inspiration.

I think in time I can manage to shift to 50% native flowers and grasses, and maybe even a higher percentage in our backyard. Not quickly, but in time!

I wonder if these wonderfully well-planned gardens will have any iris or roses? I don’t know that they fit into the category of native plants, but I sure have some beautiful ones right now.

They help me breathe lighter. They’re staying.

Take a look….I even found a cymbidium orchid that had been hiding under the camellias all winter long and with no added help from me, it’s now ready for its closeup!

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Don’t forget to use your weekend for some quality exhaling–it’s all about cultivating your well-being! If you need any suggestions, just ask. I am quite good at suggesting ways to breathe lighter, don’t you think?

Pasadena’s Arlington Garden…an excellent weekend’s exhale

Wednesday was the first day of spring, but I hear that in some parts of the country winter isn’t making a gracious exit.

If you’re tired of rain and snow maybe you want to add your name to a lawsuit filed against Punxsatawney Phil, stating he “purposely and with prior calculation and design, caused the people to believe that Spring would come early.”

Since February 2nd, when the famed Pennsylvania groundhog didn’t see his shadow and spirits were buoyed at the promise of an early spring, much of the midwest and northeast  has been blanketed in cold, rain or snow.

Apparently enough is enough! Ohio Prosecutor Mike Gmoser even called for the death penalty!

Waking this morning to this story I almost changed my mind about posting photos of a beautiful spring garden. But maybe it will give you a nice focus…it just CAN’T be long now!

In my part of the world, spring has fully sprung!

And the colors are starting to create such a splashy show I find myself letting go with some ” ooooh’s and ahhhh’s” in deep appreciation.

And Pasadena’s Arlington Garden is the perfect spot to drink it all in.

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This dedicated public garden is the perfect place to bring a cup of coffee and maybe a scone or sandwich, to sit surrounded by 350 trees and thousands of plants that do well in a Mediterranean climate, and luxuriate in tranquility.

This three acre garden is on the site of a former turn-of-the-century Victorian home, on a street once referred to as “Millionaires’ Row.” The elegant home remained in the family of the original owners until 1960, then a year later it was razed, with property eventually acquired by Caltrans.

But something wonderful and very unusual transpired.

Beginning in 2003 community members came together with city government to create a garden of native and drought tolerant plants, shrubs and trees. The garden is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year and is located on the corner of Arlington Drive and Pasadena Avenue.

It’s just down the street from the famous Fork in the Road landmark, and only a block away from one of the busiest Pasadena thoroughfares. But somehow this park’s design fools you! It’s quiet and peaceful, and a big surprise!

One thing about its location that pleases me the most is its close proximity to Huntington Hospital. I can’t help but think of how restorative a brief walk in this quiet environment would be for anyone required to make frequent hospital visitations.

There is a lot of history connected to the property and many more wonderful things I’d love to share about the garden, but spring is just getting underway. I expect to be a frequent visitor and as I share the garden with you across the seasons I’ll add a little bit more of the story for added measure.

If you just can’t see yourself spending any time outdoors this weekend, I hope that sharing some photos of Arlington Garden might inspire you to begin planning spring outdoor adventures of your own–the winter thaw can’t be too far off.

Hang on just a little bit longer…

And it’s still the weekend…so don’t forget to exhale!