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A Day At The Huntington

Storm Cloud Agapanthus

This was my third trip to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA and I see something new each time I go.  What’s fascinating about this place is that there is something for everyone – amazing gardens which offer year-round interest, a library housing around 9 million manuscripts and rare books and an amazing art collection in two separate buildings.  When my friend Debbie asked me if I wanted to join her there last week I said “heck yeah” – it’s well worth braving the LA morning traffic.  Being as I’m  “ye olde garden hound” meant that all day was spent in the gardens.  In the last 15 minutes we deftly squeezed in a whirlwind tour of the European Art Gallery to catch a glimpse of The Blue Boy and Pinkie.  Plants and art – both on the top of my list!

I have done  previous posts on the Desert Garden and the Chinese Garden.  This time I’m going to touch briefly on the gardens we toured last week –  a few words on each and lots of photos.  We started in the Shakespeare Garden which was bursting with color –  two beds full of Lisianthus plus Shasta Daisies and Rudbeckia provided a pop for the eyes.

Shakepeare Garden

Shakespeare Garden 1

Shakespeare Garden 2

Lisianthus Vulcan Purple Picotee

Lisianthus Vulcan Purple Picotee

The Rose Garden, with its sweeping views of the hills beyond, has over 1,200 cultivars and 4,000 plants.   We were in hot pursuit of Tom Carruth, the reknowned rosarian who was recently named curator of this garden,  but by the time we found someone who knew him he’d gone home.  Plant groupies!

Rose Garden

Rose Garden 1

Rose Garden 2

Gemini, a Hybrid Tea

Harry Wheatcroft, a Hybrid Tea

Harry Wheatcroft, a Hybrid Tea

The Herb Garden is laid out in an oh so appealing fashion and the structures (arbor, trellis’, etc.)  enhance it even more.   That morning, under the huge Oak Trees, a docent was making Lavender Wands.   I now know how to make one!

Herb Garden

One of the docents was demonstrating how to make Lavender wands

The Japanese Garden has just gone through a year long renovation to the tune of 6.8 million dollars and is now open to the public again.  It’s lovely – feels just like being in Japan.

Japanese Garden

Japonese Garden

Japonese Garden 2

Japonese Garden 3

Hibiscus syriacus “Coelestis”

Hibiscus syriacus “Coelestis”

The Bonsai Garden is just plain fascinating.  It’s intriguing to me to fathom how a plant so old can grow in a pot so shallow.   These specimens are all so valuable they are each wired on their own alarm.

Bonsai Collection in the Japanese Garden

Bonsai 1

Bonsai 2

the LadyBug Bag?

Hey isn’t that the LadyBug Bag?

A nice gentleman in a cart gave us a ride to the Desert Garden so we skirted the Australian Garden involved in conversation.  What can I saw about this garden famous the world over?   I’m a Succulent maniac so I could spend the whole day here!

Desert Garden

Desert Garden

Desert Garden 2

The flowers of the very tall Yucca filifera

The flowers of the very tall Yucca filifera

The Lily Ponds were a much appreciated break from the hot midday sun.   Here we got a nice treat – the Lotus were in bloom.  Quite a few photographers were taking pictures of the Water Lilys and kids were enjoying the turtles (I don’t think the feeling was mutual however!).

Lily Ponds

Lili Pond 1

Lili Pond 2

The Lotus were blooming

The Restoration of the Faux Bois tree-like arches is a long project indeed  and done all by hand with lots of detail work.  It an age old process with origins in France where concrete, wire and mortar are fashioned together to resemble wood.

Restoration of the Tree Like Faux brois Arbor

We were winding down by the time we landed at the Chinese Garden.   It was a welcome surprise to sit in one of the pagodas overlooking the pond to listen to a woman playing the bamboo flute.  Here we had views of the other pagodas, rock sculptures and bridges with lovely music echoing in our ears.

Chinese Garden 

Chinese garden

The LadyBug Bag, my companion everywhere, and I can’t wait to go back!

LadyBug Bag at desert Garden


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  1. Wonderful post with beautiful photos, Nell.
    Thanks for the virtual trip to one of my favorite locations. Have a great week!

  2. Wonderful post. Makes me want to hop on a plane and visit this magnificent garden. The Roses, The Heritage Walk and those Lavender wands… What a great idea!

  3. Thank you Cathy! We are lucky to live where we do surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Huntington has something for everyone. A great week to you also!

  4. Chris – So many things to see at The Huntington – you really need to set aside 2 days to see it all. The Lavender wands were a bonus that day. When you make it out this way … we’ll be there to meet you!

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