I know you’re salivating for another venture through one of the world’s libraries, so let’s get started…
Think SoCal (that’s Southern California for those not up on their West coast lingo) is all about beaches and celebrities and crazy expensive homes? Well, it is, but it’s also an enviable place to garden. Mild climate, little chance of frost and plenty of sunshine create fabulous conditions for growing all kinds of plants the I can only dream of.
To stir up your envy, let’s take a trip to the Sherman Library and Gardens. Located in Corona del Mar, you’d completely miss this place if you didn’t know it was there (which I didn’t, my husband took me there). The library and gardens are just a little over 2 acres and tucked behind decorative fences which block the sounds of traffic (another SoCal wonder). Once inside, those same fences give the garden enough tranquility that you forget cars are whizzing along the Pacific Coast Highway a few feet away.
And yes, there is a research library attached to the garden. The cute adobe-style home that became the library and surrounding land that became the gardens was once a nursery. And no, it wasn’t the Sherman Nursery. Turns out, old Moses Sherman had nothing to do with the place other than to be a great influence on Arnold Haskill. Haskill bought the property in 1955 and named them after Sherman, his mentor who had died in 1932.
Sherman was a teacher, but he also dabbled in land development. Heard of West Hollywood? He developed that land as well as the area still known as Sherman Oaks. Sherman also created a streetcar line that ran from North Hollywood to Van Nuys then onto Canoga Park. Sadly, the streetcar was discontinued in the 1950s since cars were all the rage. Portions of Sherman Way still exist through the old streetcar route.
But the gardens are the main reason to visit. Among the treasures in the garden are the cacti and succulent displays which are like works of art, a Japanese garden, an herb garden and a fern garden with 40-year old staghorn ferns. For those who love tropical plants, you’re in for a treat when you step into a greenhouse that’s bigger than my backyard. Gardening nerds will love that all plants come with tags that tell you the common and scientific name as well as where the plant is native to.
For more information about visiting the gardens, please go to The Sherman Library & Gardens website for all the details.