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Garden Update: The San Diego Botanic Garden

Articles: Garden Update: The San Diego Botanic Garden

A variety of perennials, woody plants, cycads, and bulbs were planted in the understory of existing trees in the African Garden. Photographs are by Herb Knufken, except as noted

Two years ago, Quail Botanical Gardens changed its name to San Diego Botanic Garden to better express its identity in the San Diego metropolitan area. Less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, it enjoys a virtually frost-free climate, allowing the staff to grow a wide array of plants—from palms and cycads to bromeliads and aloes. The botanical collections are displayed in twenty-seven gardens; several of the older gardens have recently been renovated.

Lying at the heart of the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) is the African Garden, situated between the Visitor Center and the 1918 Larabee House. It includes the oldest tree in the garden, a skyline gum (Eucalyptus cladocalyx) over eighty feet tall. In 1943, Ruth and Charles Larabee purchased the property and set out a number of plants on the grounds, many of which survive today.

In 1957, Ruth Larabee donated the property to the County of San Diego to be developed as a park. It opene...

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