07 December 2013

The Answer Is Catalina

Catalina Island, with its 12 inches (30 cm) of rainfall annually is the location of the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden. The island was mostly bought and owned by the chewing gum tycoon Wrigley, who even forced his Chicago Cubs into using the location for their spring baseball training.

With 20 (32 km) miles long by 8 miles wide (13 km) at the maximums, the island is 90% owned and managed by the Catalina Island Conservancy. This nonprofit was set up by the Wrigley family heirs to conserve and preserve the island. Most all is in a natural state, and access outside the town of Avalon is restricted -- like a futuristic scenario, you need a pass to get beyond the fence at the city limits.

Avalon is pedestrian friendly and very walkable (except when a cruise ship dumped its crowd of passengers one day), with the number of cars limited on the island. Most vehicles are golf carts and bicycles.

The garden was started by Ada Wrigley in 1935 as a personal garden containing exotic cactus. It was transformed into a botanical garden by a foundation in 1970 with an emphasis on succulents and cactus, and on the rare endangered plants endemic to Catalina and the other Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.

Landscaping bedding plants in town done with succulents, agave, and a date palm or two

Dessert Spoon Dasylirion wheeleri

The Wrigley Memorial served as Mr. Wrigley's tomb until he was moved to Forest Lawn Cemetery

Catalina Island Ironwood tree endemic to the island

Closeup of the bark on the Catalina Island Ironwood

The 'Casino' theater, art deco interior with scenes of plants, animals, and activities of the island

Four keyboards on its great theater organ

An excursion trip to the island's interior brought this view looking toward the mainland