The importance of the site upon which the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden sits dates back thousands of years. From about three thousand years until the mid 1800s, the Tongva village of Aleupkigna was located here. Waters from the Raymond Basin aquifer collected into three sag ponds and provided many springs. One of those sag ponds has become Baldwin Lake, and another was most likely on the grounds of the Huntington Library and Botanic Garden. In 1840, the property was transferred to Hugo Reid, who was married to an Aleupkigna woman and who constructed the existing adobe house next to Baldwin Lake. Following his death, the property changed hands a few times until Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin acquired it in 1875. He was responsible for expanding Baldwin Lake and constructing the Queen Anne Cottage, which was built in 1885.
The use of the site as a garden began in 1947 when California and the City of Los Angeles purchased 111 acres surrounding Baldwin Lake. By 1956 the arboretum was open to the public, and expansion of the property and construction of greenhouses and other structures has continued to today.
Currently the garden is organized by several geographic inspirations: Australian, African, Temperate Asian, Native Californian, and the Desert Southwest. In addition to these, the arboretum sports a perennial garden, rose garden, tropical greenhouse, vegetable and herb garden, aquatic gardens, oak grove, water conservation gardens, and a few areas for events. The Meyberg Waterfall sits at the edge of the Meadowbrook Garden and Tallac Knoll, both which offer views of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Another feature of the L.A. Arboretum is its status as an official wildlife sanctuary. The resident peafowl were introduced in the late 1800s, and have since become naturalized. Additionally, there are myriad other bird species that frequent the gardens – over 250 bird species have been spotted here.