In Claremont, California, less than half an hour from where we are staying is a lovely, privately funded natural area with accessible walkways and well choreographed displays. The Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens have over 55 acres of trails, with two short walks available just inside the entrance. The cost for the two of us amounts to $15. Parking is plentiful and free.
With so much to see, and photograph, Ric and I agree to meet back up at the entrance and go our own ways. There is no hurry today.
Hummingbirds greet our entry into the gardens, and the songs of birds fill the air. I follow a single, shrill chirping noise to the base of a large tree where an agitated squirrel is protesting. I take his picture and apologize for the imposition.
After months spent in the desert, it is refreshing to be amongst tall trees: sycamores, oaks, pines, and more that I am unfamiliar with. Bright coloured flowers pop up along the walkways and I can’t resist taking photos every few steps or more.
The ‘living museum’, as they describe themselves, is featuring an exhibit called “The Game of Thorns”. In this area, art is interspersed with thorny foliage to create an idyllic setting to explore. Donations from private individuals have provided a covered contemplation area and other beautiful spots to sit and observe. The bushes and trees here are teeming with wildlife, and I stop as something darts into a bush at my feet. I wait patiently for the critter to emerge and when it does it is another squirrel. They are so laughable at times.
Near the gift centre, there is a small pond and a memorial garden, beautifully arranged with rocks and plants and a small waterfall where goldfinches are bathing. (See Feature Image)
We spend hours puttering around the gardens, and when it’s time to leave, we decide to drive along the historic Route 66.
We stop for an early dinner at a Stonefire Grill and then back to the hotel to revisit our day through photographs. It’s been a record day with more than 150 images to sort through.
Life is sweet.