While living in London, I probably only visited Regent’s and Hyde Parks a handful of times. There was always next weekend or next Summer. Since relocating to the US, I’ve become geekily interested in the local flora and fauna and finding little pockets of paradise in the city. The other week I ventured out to the UCLA botanical garden.
UCLA Botanical Garden
The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a cute spot to escape the city hubbub. It’s only seven acres but they’ve created a desert and a Mediterranean section housing over 3,000 types of plants. There’s a stream and a couple of ponds running through the garden. I was enchanted by the families of turtles and sadly missed the resident Koi. I might have also talked too much, which probably scared off the salamanders and lizards…
Before visiting, I was recommended to play a game at this garden. One person closes their eyes and they are led around the garden by the other. While being guided, you reach out and feel all the different plants. Apparently, it’s pretty trippy and your senses heighten. In the heels I was wearing that day, it may have also been pretty precarious.
I feel like I should reel off a list of all the different plants and trees we saw, but I was too busy strolling to remember everything and I need to work on my Latin. Syagrus romanzoffianl what? Instead, UCLA has compiled a nice list of plants here if you’re curious.
If you’re in the area, I recommend popping in. The garden is a great place to read or spend your lunch break, but I wouldn’t expect to make an afternoon of it. I’d also recommend wearing flat shoes. A school boy error of mine…to wear heels!
Speaking of shoes, I wanted to tell you a bit about the ones I was wearing. They were inspired by the lush green Emerald Zone of Colombia by a new company I discovered called Veerah.
Veerah is a luxury shoe startup that looks to make a positive impact. Each shoe is responsibly sourced from cruelty free, vegan materials and includes a plant-based foam interior, which is then layered with an organic cotton lining. Even the box they come in is made with soy ink, which is easier to remove than regular ink when it comes to recycling the box.
So far, Veerah has launched five main styles and you can customise each of these to make them unique. The style I’m wearing is the Florence, named after Miss Nightingale herself. Each style comes with a signature accessory; the Florence comes with an Orchid brooch and I added a pair of tassels. Both are detachable. The brooch fastens like a pair of clip on earrings and the tassels attach via a loop at the back. I was a bit scared of marking the shoes when I attached my accessories for the first time.
Veerah empowers women all over the world through their community of #VEERAHwarriors and their 1-10-100 battle plan. 1% of proceeds is contributed to social impact courses, 10 paid hours every month are given to employees to take self-improvement courses or volunteer and, for every 100 interviews, they sponsor a one-year scholarship through She’s the First.
These weren’t the most practical shoes for walking around a rocky park, but it was a perfect place for this plant-obsessed lass to christen them.
Dress: Berry dress by prAna
Bag: Juniper rattan handbag by Purse for the People
Special thanks to Veerah for gifting me the shoes. As always, all opinions are my own.