mott adobe ruins

In 1910, Johnny Mott, a famous LA attorney, built an adobe home on the banks of Malibu Creek, in what was then Crag’s Country Club. It was reported in the Los Angeles Times that Mott’s longtime friend, President Herbert Hoover, was a frequent guest. 

When 20th Century Fox bought the property in 1946, the adobe was retained as a movie set. You can see it in “Viva Zapata!” (1952), starring Marlon Brando, but by 1970 it had fallen into ruins. 

The Mott Adobe ruins are now part of Malibu Creek State Park, and only the dramatic stone fireplace is left standing.

the bees moved in

We have a low retaining wall that was built long ago with an old hollow metal drugstore sign, supported in front by a pile of broken concrete. Yesterday morning I realised that bees have taken up residence inside the sign. I was working around that wall the day before, weeding and watering, and didn’t notice any activity. Was I just oblivious? Or did they move in overnight? Either way, they are welcome.

descanso gardens

The stone-fruit trees are flowering at Descanso Gardens, so I went with Urban Sketchers LA, on a chilly morn, to enjoy (and sketch) the display.

While there, I wandered into the California Native garden (designed in the 1950s by legendary nurseryman and native plant advocate Theodore Payne) and saw a ground cover sage that I think would do really well at our place. I believe it’s Salvia Bee’s Bliss — gotta get me some!

white oak farm

White Oak Farm is tucked into the northwest corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes Roads. Once a dairy farm, it’s now part of Malibu Creek State Park, and a ranger lives in the old farmhouse. There are no ‘white oaks’ here, only valley oaks and coast live oaks. The valley oaks have lighter bark than the others, so perhaps that’s where the name came from.