Despite the gloomy start to Monday in L.A. we decided to risk the rain showers and head to The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, near Pasadena.
On this visit we stuck to exploring the grounds and left the Huntington Library and Art Collections for another occasion.
On weekdays admission is $15 for adults and the grounds are open from midday until 4.30pm.
We arrived around 2.30pm and there was still plenty of time to have a lovely stroll around amongst the plants and gardens.
With some clouds remaining in the sky it meant that some of the flowers had closed up, but there were still lots of sights and scents to savour.
I hope you enjoy the array of colour and the splendor of the gardens.
Even though I worked on a gardening magazine for a short time, I'm not that familiar with the horticultural names.
So if anyone would like to share their knowledge of the plants and flowers I photographed that would be much appreciated.
Sadly only service dogs are allowed in the gardens, so Cooper wasn't allowed to bound around the grounds, which on reflection is probably for the best.
I have to say I love this shot of the Birds of Paradise flowers, it looks like there is a flock of birds trapped behind whose plant stems.
We have some amazing gardens in the U.K., like Kew Gardens near where we used to live in London, but what the inclement British weather doesn't really allow for are large outdoor cacti and succulent displays like in the Desert Garden at Huntington.
Huntington's Desert Garden
I also couldn't resist including this black and white image from the Desert Garden of a hummingbird perched on a plant frond.
Next up are the Lily Ponds surrounded by grasses, trees and flowers in a variety of different interesting shapes and sizes. Oh, and a few ducks for good measure too.
Huntington's Lily Ponds
Standing sentry over this Lily Pond is a bronze sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi by Clara Leonora Huntington.
If you're feeling a little tired walking around all the various gardens I'd recommend spending some time relaxing in the Japanese Garden.
Huntington's Japanese Garden
Not only can you admire different Bonsai trees, but you can simply take a seat and go all zen in the tranquil dry landscape garden amongst the unique combination of raked gravel, rocks and plants.
Then it's on to the drum bridge and flowing stream in the rest of the Japanese inspired garden.
There are are also massive brightly coloured koi fish to admire in the ponds and geese wandering the grounds.
In addition to all the fabulous flora and fauna at The Huntington Gardens, the grounds are also adorned by statues of mythical characters, gods and heroes, but more on those another day.
For now I'm off to drink a little potion to help me fit through that very 'Alice in Wonderland' blue door in the Children's Garden...