Plant Tourism

Visiting an arboretum or botanical garden while traveling is something that all plant lovers might wish to do during their travels. Dropping by a couple of nurseries between sightseeing stops, however,  is something that only a plant tourist would do. That is what I did last month when I took a 36 hour trip to the city of Los Angeles, CA. I didn’t go there for Hollywood Boulevard or the beach. I went down south with the explicit intent to check out the flora of SoCal.

I wanted to see for myself what plants grow or do not grow in the warmest USDA zone on the West Coast. I also wanted to see how the retail selection of plants varied between Oregon and California. Which of Oregon’s annuals are sold as perennials here? On my drive back to Oregon, observing the last palm tree as I made my way up north. How does USDA zone 10a differ from 9b? Are there any 10a plants in 9b? How reliable is this zone thing, anyway?

Whenever I travel, I see myself wondering about these things. As a keen observer of nature, it can be said that plants are a part of my lifestyle. They’re everywhere of course, but most people take them for granted. For me, it shapes my travel habits, from the specific routes I choose to the touristic activities themselves. From hotels and restaurants to office buildings and parks, plants immensely intensify the experience of being there. I find myself taking note of striking specimens and seemingly “out-of-place” species. These excursions not only expand my botanical education, they also lead me to discoveries I could never have found in a book or from a nursery alone.

Plant lifestyle. It has an odd ring to it at first, but then it grows on you. Kind of like plants.

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