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The Madagascar Spiny Forest at Los Angeles County Arboretum

Articles: The Madagascar Spiny Forest at Los Angeles County Arboretum

Yellow flowers of Uncarina grandidieri frame a view of the Madagascar Spiny Forest. Photographs by Frank McDonough, except as noted

The Madagascar Spiny Forest at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden was the brainchild of Superintendent Timothy Phillips. Fascinated with unusual plants since childhood, it is no wonder that Tim developed an interest in Madagascan plants later in life. This new garden nicely complements nearby collections (South Africa, Australia, New World succulents, cacti), the Water Conservation Garden, and other gardens featuring plants from the mediterranean climate regions of the world. Though it had challenges, the Spiny Forest definitely meets the landscape requirements for a collection that tolerates and, in fact, thrives with low water consumption.

Tim’s passion for this project and the resulting garden experience is actually understated in his comments:
The Madagascar collection was and is an experiment of sorts, one that pushes the horticultural limits. It’s an adventure of the spiniest kind, and I have the pin-cushion memories to prove it! I wanted to create an imm...

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