We just got back from a wonderful trip to Monterey Bay, with stops at Big Sur, Yosemite and Santa Cruz along the way. A major highlight of any trip to California is, of course, the succulents that are thriving everywhere.

Here’s just a few of the wonders that we saw this time:


The major highlight of this trip, however, was a visit to the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. The arboretum is divided into Australia, New Zealand and South Africa plants. Oh my…there was some serious plant lust going on!! The most amazing plants were the Banksia. There seems to be amazing variety in the genus, ranging from ground covers to trees. They were a magnet for the hummingbirds along the Arboretum’s ‘Hummingbird Trail’. They have amazing flower spikes and foliage, curious seed pods/”cones”. I didn’t get all of their names…but here’s a few:

We saw a lot of Grevillias as well…again, amazing variety within the genus. These I can grow at home, so I was inspired rather than awestruck!

Protea – South African ‘sugarbush’ belong to the same family as Grevilleoideae

Author: joannewesterby

Although I lived in Ontario for 25 years, Vancouver Island has always been home to me. 15 years ago we bought a "little house on the prairie" in Brant County, just outside Hamilton, Ancaster and Brantford, Ontario. Over the years, with a lot of sweat, determination, luck, skill, frustration, elation and endurance we turned that 2 acre clay field into an amazing chronicled in Through Leaves. When we recently retired we immediately came back 'home' to the Coast. We have settled in beautiful central Vancouver Island at the edge of Nanaimo on 1/2 acre with a mature shrub garden adjacent to a ravine that winds its way up to Westwood Lake and eventually Mount Benson. Although the garden is mature and is very overgrown, too homogenous for my liking and needs my personal stamp! I am dizzy with the possibilities!!!

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