A Magic Garden and a Hidden Castle in Catalina Island
Guess what? A lot of you guys loved last week’s post about the city of Avalon located in Catalina Island. So, this week, I have decided to post once more about this idyllic place. Hopefully, you guys are not getting bored. But let’s face it. Who can get bored of this amazing place?
After discovering the charms of Avalon, we still had tons of time before returning to our big boat. In a map showcasing Avalon
attractions, we noticed a botanical garden that was about a mile and a half away. You know, we weren’t in a rush. We
were on vacation mode. We decided to take the walk (slowly).
The beauty of the island continued to appear in front of our eyes. There were vast open, green spaces flanked by
mountains. The color of flowers caught our gazes at every moment. Who wouldn’t want to walk around this yellow tree?
Or be surprised by the sounds made by this little fella? We heard like somebody was knocking on a door (I am going crazy). We looked around until we found him on top of a palm tree.
The journey was great but I think, in this case, the destination was better. This botanical garden is unique in the world because it features plants endemic to Catalina and the other Channel Islands. You can circle the entire globe and you are not going to find them anywhere. That is why I baptized it the “magical garden”. Plus, it feels like the names of the endemic plants are the names of some dwarfs living in there. Manzanita (little apple in Spanish). Catherine’s Lace. Bedstraw. Live-Forever. It is the perfect place to name the characters of a great new saga.
In addition, the garden features cacti, succulents and trees from around the world. And here we go again with the interesting
names and aspects.
Meet elephant foot palm or tree.
There were multiple dragon trees (first time I saw them).
We saw huge flowers showing interesting color combinations.
Plus, there were vibrant flowers shaped like spades guarding the garden from enemies. Oh, and so much more!! I felt like in an Alice in Wonderland scene.
But that was not it. There was a hidden castle at the end of the garden!!!
It had a tower covered with precious island stones.
Well, let me tell you the truth. There is not castle in the botanical garden (but I am allowed to dream, right?). The photos are showing the Spanish style memorial structure built to honor William Wrigley Jr. William was a Chicago chewing gum magnate who promoted the development of Catalina Island as a retreat. After his death, the memorial was constructed. It is made out of concrete but crushed island stones were incorporated. The blue flagstone used in the terrace and ramps was quarried from
Little Harbor (a small town on the west coast of the island). The use of local materials was emphasized, just as Wrigley would have wanted it. Wrigley’s wife, Ada, started to work on the garden in 1935.
Now, let me tell you the memorial is absolutely beautiful. The best part is that the views from the top are incredible (like we
needed more beauty that day, sarcastic, I know).
For example, check out the next photo. You can see mainland California in there. How I know? Take a close look at where the sea
and the sky meet. You are going to see snowy mountains.
So, you don’t believe me? Maybe the next photo will convince you. That week a big snow storm covered the mountains with powder. It was so ironic to see the snow from our little “tropical” island.
We also discovered we walked thru a canyon to get to the garden (Avalon Canyon). The garden is located at the end of the
Oh, Catalina, Catalina. You have me thinking about you every day. This is a good reminder of how many great things are close to home. An island escape, a charming town, a canyon, friendly creatures and endemic plants. What else can you ask for?
Have you been surprised by a place close to where you live? Let me know in the comments section below.