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Photos: A Stroll Through Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

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If you happen to find yourself in the charming college town of Claremont with some free time, walking shoes, and the desire to check out some of California's native plants and flowers, there is an 86-acre spot ready for you to explore.

The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is home to about 2000 taxa of California plants including many that rep the overall region called the California Floristic Province, which extends from southern Oregon to Baja California, Mexico and over into western Nevada.

With a map and brochures in hand, you can take your own stroll around the gardens. Pause in shaded areas to rest on benches near small fountains, or drink in the beautiful views of the San Gabriel Mountains as your backdrop. Here you don't exit through the gift shop, but rather wind you way up to it at the top (there are restrooms and beverages there, should you need them) and then journey back down. You may be joined by some animal friends along the way, like bunnies, butterflies, hummingbirds, lizards, and squirrels.

There are more or less ideal times of year to see things in bloom (for example, spring to see the wildflowers) and while we stopped by recently after our long, hot spell, there was still plenty to see and enjoy...and photograph.