Sunday, June 1, 2014

THE POLLINATOR GARDEN






I've very excited about my new column on arts and culture at Tidings. Here's the beginning of a piece I must say is dear to my heart, on the new Pollinator Garden at L.A.'s Natural History Museum. I think my pictures are better than the ones they used, but then, I'm prejudiced.

"Certain phrases evoke the pilgrim urge: Franciscan Appalachian Hermitage. Wayside Chapel. Summer Cottage. But nothing could be a clearer invitation to drop everything, go sit on a bench in the sun, and ponder for a while than the phrase “pollinator garden.”

So when I saw that the Natural History Museum recently added three-and-a-half acres of Nature Gardens — and that a Pollinator Garden was among them — I hurried right down.

Fenced and flowered beautifully, the pollinator garden was an oasis surrounded by tall old trees. Late on a weekday afternoon (the museum closes at 5), I had the place almost to myself. Wide meandering walkways. The wafting smell of sage. Hummingbird feeders and a birdbath and blue ceanothus drowsing in the lambent 4 o’clock light. Purple iris, red yarrow, a stand of rich yellow-green kangaroo paw.

Lettered blackboards were scattered throughout the grounds, offering enough information to intrigue but not overwhelm. “How does pollination happen? ... Wind … Water … Animals. Birds, bats, bees and even geckos act as pollinators.”

The focal point was a pond, overhung with trees, rimmed with sitting-sized rocks, and dotted with clumps of slender green reeds: “A gathering place for wildlife, bugs, including the backswimmer and the naiad; birds, including the black phoebe; mammals, including the sleeping opossum. All come here to drink, find food, cool down, or breed. Look closer.”

I looked closer and saw pearly everlasting, plumbago, lantana, the rare island snapdragon"...

READ THE REST OF THE POLLINATOR GARDEN ESSAY HERE.

ECHEVIERA 'MAUNA LOA'
at THE LIVING WALL

THE FAB POND WHERE YOU CAN SEE OPOSSUMS AND
ALL KINDS OF BIRDS

KANGAROO PAW


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