Things to do in Little Holmby: Mildred E Mathias Botanical Garden
“As you walk through the garden, you can be in what feels like the desert of South Africa, and you can be in a jungle in Thailand and in the Eucalyptus forests of Australia,”
- Evan Meyer, assistant director, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
I couldn’t agree more. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled the world in 7.5 acres at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. This living museum features a diverse collection of plants from around the world and is organized into subsections which include South African succulents, Canary Island natives, New World deserts and Madagascar spiny forests. And animal lovers, can observe turtles, koi and crayfish swimming in the stream that runs through the center of the garden.
The Garden was named after Mildred Esther Mathias, the pioneering American horticulturist who traversed the western United States, publishing scientific papers and describing new species, before accepting a staff position at UCLA, where she also served as director of the garden for 18 years from 1956 to 1974.
Started in 1929 along an arroyo on the east side of the campus, shortly after the University began classes in Westwood, native willows grew along the creek bed, and the dry hills supported coastal sage scrub, a natural plant community of southern California. By 1947, the garden contained about 1500 species and varieties of plants and that number more than doubled between the 1950s and ’70s when the garden gained traction for its special collection of Eucalyptus and Ficus plants.
An educational resource, a research site, and a quiet oasis, this beautiful botanical garden will inspire the appreciation of nature for the city dwellers in us. Learn more about the garden collections here: https://www.botgard.ucla.edu/gardencollections/