A Winter Walk at UCR Botanic Gardens
You may have heard that this winter in SoCal has been a pretty wet one. Now, I love a good dose of rain but I have to admit it can get a bit old. As much as I love staying inside and curling up with a good book I’ve really been missing the great outdoors. So when last Saturday was bright and sunny I knew I had to get back out into nature and paid a visit to the UCR Botanic Gardens.
Last week I spent numerous days in Palm Springs for Modernism Week (I’ll have all the scoop for you soon!) and while I traveled back and forth through Riverside I couldn’t help but notice how green it was. The Inland Empire is really a beautiful place when it gets some rain. While driving past UC Riverside I recalled hearing about an on campus botanical garden and resolved to visit it after the festivities were over.
After a quick stop in Redlands to visit the Lincoln Memorial Shrine I decided it was time to head to the gardens. After spending too many hours on the freeway I decided to stick to city street and had an enjoyable drive through Loma Linda, Colton and Grand Terrace even purchasing some fresh citrus along the way. This was my first visit to UCR and it’s really in a beautiful corner of Southern California!
Even though it was late afternoon the botanic gardens proved to be a popular spot (looks like I wasn’t the only one going stir crazy) and there was no available parking. Luckily, a nearby campus lot offered short term parking for a minimal fee and I didn’t mind hoofing it to the entrance.
I had expected a manicured garden filled with flower bed and was immediately shocked to find a vast natural space filled with hills and trees and ambling nature trails. In fact, the garden covers 40 acres of hilly ground and contains various natural environments such as grassland, woodland and desert.
Filled with ambition I started hauling it over the hills and through the woods until…I realized that my time spent indoors left me a bit out of shape.
Over the course of an hour I visited a relatively small portion of the garden but it was wonderful. The air was clear and crisp, it was so very green and the exercise made me feel wonderful. Tired but wonderful.
And thanks to the rain there were flowers everywhere!
I also discovered I wasn’t completely off base about the manicured gardens as there is an area containing an herb, butterfly, iris and tropical garden.
A visit to the UCR Botanic Garden was just what I needed after a busy week. It was so nice to be out in the fresh air and getting some exercise. It’s supposed to rain again this weekend but I know spring will be here soon and I can only imagine how many flowers will be blooming then!