Mother Nature and her friends greet a woman and her toddler as they make their way towards the Arboretum Saturday morning. The entrance, a bridge measuring six feet by two feet, is accompanied by the sounds of a small waterfall that flows adjacent to it.
They walk deeper into Mother Nature’s playground and proceed to a nearby farm stand. The stand consists of two picnic tables covered with organically grown vegetables. The Arboretum specializes in plants that are native to California.
Near that farm stand, a woman adjusts the zoom lens on her DSLR camera to snap a photo of bright, magenta-colored flowers. Click — she glances at the image and walks on.
There are countless reasons that individuals and families come to the Arboretum on any given day. They range from the simplest of reasons, such as having a picnic, to the most special reasons, such as taking engagement or wedding photos that will last a lifetime.
The most reasonable excuse — to stroll through nature’s backyard.
“I take a lot of pictures and try to see nature differently to be more creative with it. Sometimes I come to just relax with my family. It’s really calm, peaceful and well-maintained, and you don’t feel like you’re in California with all the traffic and (congestion),” said Carolina Cox of Anaheim.
Cox, a second year art student at Cal State Fullerton, visits the Arboretum once or twice a month to spend time with her husband, Brian, and her three daughters.
Brian Cox, also a student at Cal State Fullerton, studies special education in the master’s program. He earned his B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from Fullerton back in 2008.
“I dabble in photography because of (Carolina). I enjoy (spending time) with her, and since that’s what she enjoys, it’s something I picked up,” Brian said when asked about his interest in photographing the Arboretum. His wife smiles on the side.
A stream babbles along the side of the Arboretum. In many areas, sunlight brightens up everything from grassy fields with wooden benches to different crossroads leading deeper into the park.
In other areas, trees and greenery create a cool and shady shelter for the bridges nearby.
Sunshine continues to reflect off plants that have suffered winter weather, where the aforementioned mother and son continue their adventure. She points out plants to him as his feet drag along the dirt and rocks in his multi-colored rain boots.
Carrie Barber, the mother, and her son Max, 4, keep walking until they reach the Children’s Garden. She points out a pile of haystacks and a giant shovel. Max climbs the hay, jumping from one tier to another.
“(The Arboretum) is such a nice place for kids to run around at. (They get to) explore and walk on a log. Kids don’t get many opportunities to walk on a log these days,” she said.
Barber is fairly adamant on coming to the Arboretum whenever she can. She even volunteered as a master gardener more than 10 years ago. During that time, she would answer questions that people had about gardening during events that the Arboretum held.
“I really enjoyed … that. It was really fun and relaxing.”
As the sunshine keeps brightening up the plants and open space, individuals continuously come and go. Whenever people leave, Mother Nature bids them farewell while greeting new visitors.
The Arboretum is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Memberships are also available, with fees starting at $40 per person.
For more information, call (657) 278-3407.