The Places

the sunlight glowing over the dry grasses and joshua trees

This page is dedicated to the nature in Southern California.
Mostly plants, but you’ll find some animals and rocks too.
The areas I go often will be getting their pages first, and blog posts will show up on those pages. This is a collection page to make navigating easier.

My Google Maps list of Pretty Places in Socal!

This page sorted by location.


Want to know more about the people that choose the plants all around the city? LA City Plants!

America the Beautifulthe Park Pass for the ages.


South Coast Botanic Garden

Located down in Palos Verdes, this lovely garden sits on the site of a converted landfill.

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The GLOW Fades

After a couple months of GLOW at South Coast Botanic Garden, it’s time to look back at the light and the music. (For those who didn’t attend – it’s a walking / music / plant / light show with a water theme)

A group of leaves shining in the fresh rain

Strolling in the Rain

Had a wonderful day at South Coast Botanic Garden in some heavy rain. The leaves looked amazing! And the plants are holding up better than I did in the cold.

someone standing in front of the living wall

GLOW – at SCBG

Glow is happening at SCBG until January 10th, 2021. If you want to take a break from being stuck indoors – or take a break from more ‘normal’ plants – swing on by the garden to see the foliage in a new light! (Yes, that was a pun)


Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua tree is a wonderful patch of desert out in Southern California. It takes its name from the ‘tree’ (succulent) known as the Joshua Tree.

I tend to take the highway over to the Visitor’s Center, then a straight shot on down to the park entrance.

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A familiar scene at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree: After Hours

I recently headed over to Joshua Tree, hoping to catch some stars or some snow. Neither of my hopes came true. The sky stayed overcast the whole evening, and the ground dry. And it was perfect and still and I loved every minute.

Cactus Bones

Cholla cacti have wood skeletons. After they die and the water evaporates, after the skin falls off and the desert critters move in – they leave behind some wood. I never connected the plants as alive to how they were when dead.

Opuntia basilaris cactus - the Beavertail Prickly Pear

Wrinkled Beavertail Cactus

The Beavertail Prickly-Pear Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) is a mainstay in Joshua Tree and much of the rest of the Mojave. Learn about it here!


Palos Verdes Peninsula

Palos Verdes Peninsula is a hilly (or mountainous) region at the southwestern tip of Los Angeles County. It’s got a swath of cliffs hanging over rocky beaches, and a wonderful view of Catalina. Last but not least, it’s got dozens of outdoor spots to enjoy.

Visit the page for a long list of hiking and other outdoors places.

I tend to visit Pelican Cove, just because I love the long walk down to the ocean. Keeps you well away from cars.

Content coming soon!


I run my critter observations through a few networks:

iNaturalist : This is the collection of my observations made (entirely, so far) through the phone app. Just remember to put in as much information into each observation as you can, and the suggestions seem spot on. Location is very important. “iNaturalist is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.” If you’re into birding or keeping track of any other flora or fauna, this is a pretty nifty setup.

As it stands, I typically hand-hold a monocle to my phone camera, and that seems to be doing alright for distances up to 25 ft for sparrow-sized birds. At least, when I’m in full sunlight. I haven’t used the plant side of it, but as I type this I realize I’ve been missing out.
Update slightly later: The plant side works pretty darn well too!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s Bird Net. They have just so darn much information. And the various apps they connect and reference (in particular, Merlin and BirdNET). Okay, honestly, I use BirdNET considerably more. The ability to identify birds by sound (especially when they’re sometimes so hard to get ahold of visually) is pretty useful. Definitely hit Save before you hit Analyze. If you don’t, the Save option goes away. (On second thought, maybe it autosaves? I need to try uploading my recordings!)


And for the work done by others:

A list of Bird Surveys done in Southern California by Dr. Callyn Yorke’s class.

Birds and Peacocks in Palos Verdes

All About Birds


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