The Living Stream: A Glimpse into Nature's Resilience


Norine Holguin

9/11/20232 min read

In the heart of the Garden lies a natural wonder that tells a story of adaptability and human intervention. The meandering stream, a testament to the changing landscape of Tovaangar, or as it's known by the indigenous Tongva people, has undergone a transformation, thanks to the delicate dance between nature and technology.

A Seasonal Serenity

The Garden's unique valley shape owes its existence to an arroyo, a seasonal stream bed that once embraced the ebb and flow of water. In years gone by, winter rains would awaken this arroyo, filling it with the soothing sound of flowing water. But for much of the year, it remained dry, mirroring the rhythm of the seasons.

However, the ever-advancing hand of land development has redefined water flow across California, including this sacred land of Tovaangar. With urbanization, the natural course of the stream was altered, and its once-seasonal character shifted.

The Resilience of Nature

Today, a recirculating pump stands as a symbol of nature's resilience. It breathes life into the stream, ensuring its flow persists year-round. In doing so, it creates a haven for wildlife, where creatures of all sizes find refuge amidst the gentle babbling of water. As you wander along the stream's banks, take a moment to appreciate the lush greenery that thrives here.

Notice the Monstera deliciosa, its leaves as large as nature intended. These water-loving plants, with their oversized foliage, are a stark contrast to the sun-kissed corners of the Garden. They remind us of the adaptability of life, thriving in the embrace of this perennial stream.

Exploring the Oasis

For those who venture deeper into the stream's embrace, a world of wonders awaits. Water-loving plants, such as bananas and wild gingers, line its edges, creating a tapestry of lush greenery. Here, the towering presence of a dawn redwood, a Metasequoia glyptostroboides, adds to the enchantment.

The stream's jungle-like appearance and the thriving wildlife it hosts have made it a highlight of K-12 tours. It's a living testament to the coexistence of the natural world and the human footprint.

Preserving a Precious Legacy

While the stream has weathered the tests of time, it now stands in need of our help. This beloved feature, a living reminder of nature's resilience, requires extensive renovation to ensure it continues to thrive for future generations.

As we stand on the banks of this stream, surrounded by its green embrace, we are reminded of our duty to protect and preserve it. The Garden is currently seeking donors who share this commitment, individuals willing to invest in the conservation of this precious space.

In the story of the Garden's stream, we find echoes of the larger tale of our planet's ever-changing landscape. It's a reminder of our responsibility to honor and safeguard the delicate balance between nature and progress. By doing so, we ensure that this living stream, with its lessons of resilience, continues to flow for generations to come.


“The Stream.” Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden,

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