The Dry Garden: Turning a monument to the past into a model for the future

Richard Schulhof, new CEO of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Schulhof, a native Angeleno, arrived from Harvard's Arnold Arboretum six months ago. “I didn’t come back here because I needed a job,” he said. “I came because I think L.A. should have a great arboretum.” Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles was sold to the world as the place where anything grew. As if to prove it, more than 10,000 exotic plants were tested last century on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Arcadia. “The original notion was that it would be a big, big trial ground to see what could flourish in L.A.,” explained Richard Schulhof.

According to the Arboretum’s recently appointed chief executive officer, this makes the arboretum’s collection a living history. So many of the plants tested flourished that roughly half a century later, eucalyptus,