Winter, sprinkled with family gatherings, fireplaces, hot chocolates, warm blankets, and tight embraces, is a time to look back at the year and seasons past. It is a time to take in the events and milestones, to celebrate successes and easily forget shortcomings.
When Angelenos speak about the seasons, it is usually to point out two options – rain or sunshine. In some ways, those humbling aspects that large Eastern storms bring are missed by Angelenos. School is never cancelled due to snow, the streets rarely close (construction on the 405 aside). For the most part, life goes on just 10 degrees colder and slightly moister.
The subtlety of changes in weather can also be applied to plant life, which is seemingly always green and blooming. At first glance, the plants and gardens that make up the 12 acres of Grand Park’s green space might look frozen in time, but the changes, though slight, are abundant.
The team at Rios Clemente Hale, the firm that designed Grand Park, suggested a few plants that might be worth taking a second glance at this fall and winter. Check out these 4 examples of plant life that will make you forget the fast-pace of the city, take a break, and cuddle up for a winter that is truly Angeleno at its core.
Ginko biloba, the Maidenhair Tree:
These beautiful (and very slow growing) specimens turn fully golden in the fall. Although impermanent (they lose all their leaves), you may enjoy a brief show of gold leaves on the ground – that is until all the scrapbookers scoop them up and press them into their albums. There is a small stand of Ginkos down by the water fountains and restrooms near the Marketplace between Spring and Broadway. Check out the reflections in the building to see even more!
Chorisia speciosa, the Floss Silk Tree:
If you have not gotten enough pink at Grand Park already, check out these trees at the Broadway Terraces, just above the N Broadway entrance to the Park. In Los Angeles their white and pink flowers tend to show in the fall and winter. The flowering is followed by large pods, but you will have to wait until spring until they explode with white floss. Year-round you can fear and savor their lovely, spiked trunks. Check them out and see why they are also called the monkey-no-climb tree.
Platanus racemosa, the California Sycamore Tree:
Their large leaves provide a lovely dappled shade in the summer. In fall, the leaves turn and… fall. The trees are mostly deciduous, letting through some extra sun to warm us on those chilly Los Angeles winter days. Perfect place to pick up a book in the wintertime!
Koelreuteria bipinnata, the Chinese Flame Tree:
The show may have ended for these. It begins with a lot of yellow flowers and ends with a tree full of dusty rose-colored clusters of lantern-shaped capsules. They lanterns hang around through fall and dry while on the tree.
—Mitchell Colley, Grand Park’s Resident Green Thumb.