After California Dreamin' - heading home to Hampton Court

Lotusland near Santa Barbara - 37 acres of horticultural wonder
Nearly three weeks in California and thousands of miles later, I've visited more than 20 gardens during my stay here and loved every moment. Highlights included many of the gardens visited on the 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling, where we were lucky enough to visit many small, private plots in and around San Francisco.
The lath botanical building in Balboa Park, San Diego
I was also fortunate to be able spend time in the Los Angeles area, which meant that I got to one of my long-time "Wish List" gardens - Lotusland, outside Santa Barbara - and to see some of the missions, including San Juan Capistrano (below), before heading south to San Diego where I was able to see the famous lath botanical building in Balboa Park (above).
The mission, San Juan Capistrano, with all the roses in bloom
Now it's home to Hampton Court and another heatwave ... or so I'm told. After temperatures well into the 90s here in southern California, I suspect that I'm going to enjoy every moment in the sunshine back home. I'll be reviewing all the gardens I've visited here on the West coast in the next few months, but for reviews on San Diego Botanic Garden and Keeyla Meadows' amazing blaze of colour outside San Francisco, click on the links. And please, can anybody tell me what this plant below is - seen in Balboa Park yesterday.


  1. Charlotte, it was such a treat meeting you and mutually standing guard outside the men's loo at the Sunset garden. The plant you mention above is Solandra maxima, the Cup of Gold vine native to Mexico. It gets monstrous huge and needs a solid support to climb on. Looking forward to your Calif. posts.

  2. Wonderful pics and insightful observations as always. Your huge yellow flower is Solandra grandiflora, or golden chalice vine. It's a huge, rampant grower in warmer climates and I've seen it bring down quite a big tree.

  3. Charlotte, that is Solandra maxima , Golden Chalice Vine ...enjoyed chatting with you at Fling !

  4. Great post, lovely flowers and that cactus garden is fabulous. I love solandra and in fact have a small one that I'm planning on training into a standard.


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