UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

I was missing trees and green things that aren’t sharp and pointy.  We’d been in the desert for about 2 weeks and we were about to head to Death Valley. I needed to see some trees (not palm trees) and lush foliage. So, I searched the ol’ google maps for a garden, and UC Riverside showed up as a little over one hour’s drive from where we were staying.

So we took the day and drove to Riverside.  Lo and behold, we found ourselves a truly amazing garden, with the added bonus of several miles of trails to allow us to get some movement into our day. I HIGHLY recommend a visit if you are in the area.  This is a beautiful place. (And FREE admission!)

The trails wind through several different types of ecosystems, and we started with the North American desert, displaying an astonishing array of cacti.

 
There was also a rose garden (with roses IN BLOOM AT NEW YEARS!)

and a tranquil, jungle-like dome structure filled with tropical vines and palms and banana trees (or that’s what they looked like to me).   sidebar: Flora is sporting blue tips on her ponytail…and I think it works.

Then we walked through a rocky hillside, into an herb garden and a grove of oak trees, then through the Australian area and a palm grove. It was a fun way to spend a few hours and have a picnic lunch.

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