Tour of Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center

Tour of Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center

What is better on a warm hazy day of summer in the San Fernando Valley than a visit to botanical gardens? Nothing! Except the combination of flora and fauna and history. This irresistible mixture certainly enticed me away from newspaper, coffee drinking, and Sunday afternoon porch sitting.

The 200 acres estate of William Warren Orcutt and Mary Logan Orcutt known as Rancho Sombre del Robie, "ranch shaded by the oak," in the twenties, later became Orcutt Ranch Park in West Hills, California, when it was purchased by the Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Department, in 1966.

When work on the Rancho began in 1929, Mr. Orcutt had planned to have citrus and walnut groves throughout the rolling hills with 450 acres dedicated to grapefruit, oranges, and walnuts. As the President of Union Oil Company, Mr. Orcutt was often occupied in town, tending to matters of the company and only occasionally able to visit his rancho. Consequently, a live-in gardener was hired to care for the property in his absence. Under the gardener's care and expertise, fine examples of Dogwood, purple lily Magnolias, Chinese Wisteria and Birch trees were planted and thrive today.

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