Olschewski, Sydney Hort. 15 B Willow Springs Park This semester I had the opportunity to visit many different garden centers around my local area. Although all of them were equally amazing, I did enjoy one garden in particular. It had been the first time I have ever visited Willow Springs Park (which is pretty insane considering I drive past it almost every day.). I found it extremely fascinating how large that place actually is despite looking like a parking lot for anyone who does not know better. My first five minutes there I saw an abundance of wild life including two rabbits passing by. I visited in the late fall so not much of it was blooming but I could tell the plants were very nicely established and thriving there. The type of plants ranged from native to this area of California to imported from similar climates all around the planet. They all complement each other nicely. One Plant that can be found all throughout the center is the massive King Palm. They look amazing and happy there despite not being native. Another plant that can be found in every corner of the center is white sage. This is a native sage that is spreading rapidly throughout Willow Springs Park. While I was exploring the park, I ran into one of the conservationists. She explained to me that they plan on doubling the size of the garden center in the next couple of years. It is currently 14 acres wide and will eventually expand to be 28 acres. The conservationist also explained how this plot of land was just recently given back to the native Navaho Americans so the vegetation is fairly new. I am happy I got to speak with someone who was on expert on the center. It only made me more excited to see what the location is going to become. Another thing I fell in love with about the park is that they maintained a bee farm. We are well aware that bees disappearing at a rapid rate so I appreciate efforts to help them. This will also contribute to the fruiting of various plants around the park. I feel very fortunate to discover an incredible place like this so close to my house. I enjoyed seeing a natural takeover in the middle of a concrete jungle. I felt at ease to submerge myself in California’s native plants and even get the chance to view some wildlife. I am looking forward to the plans for expansion of the center. I also believe this incredible place will inspire the citizens on Long Beach and that there will be a push to preserve and create more natural places like this throughout the city. It is incredible to see how well the plants are doing in such a short time and that wildlife will return if we provide a natural habitat. I have a good feeling that garden centers such as this one will help improve our planet and give the public a chance to escape everyday urban chaos and time to connect back with nature. Nature is a huge part of our genetic makeup and I am glad to know I have a little piece of it so close to me.