Saturday, October 16, 2010

Earthly Delights - Quail Botanical Gardens:
Encinitas CA

OK, I admit - sometimes botanical gardens can make my eyes glaze over after the third Latin plant name. (Dead language for live things? Go figure.) Latin terms aside, I do find these gardens great for a stroll, and Quail Botanical Gardens (a.k.a. San Diego Botanic Garden) seemed pleasing enough with its variety of exotic plants and impressive collection of bamboo species. A couple of things in particular set this one apart from other botanical gardens, and make this diversion visit-worthy.

Mary Jane's tiki snack bar
For starters, a cheery coffee/snack bar-meets-tiki hut greets you when you enter. Mary Jane, the sole proprietor, explained that she bought the business after she bailed out on twenty years of corporate life. (Right on, sister!) After a nice chat over a decaf latte, I entered the grounds.

Again, lots of interesting plants. But the real show stopper was the life-size topiary mariachi band, which was charming in a creepy, Edward Scissor Hands sort of way. (Apparently, the face masks were molded on the artists who designed the figures.) In addition to the mariachis, there’s also a foliage-covered waltzing couple and prancing woman. A garden party in the truest sense of the word.

Topiary meets mariachis
If you’re into pushing the plant envelope, or just like odd things, these figures alone are worth the price of admission.

San Diego (a.k.a Quail) Botanic Garden
230 Quail Gardens Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024

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