Monday, June 1, 2015

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Walking through the Huntington Botanical Gardens is like traveling the gardens of the world in one afternoon.
Curving paths lead from one specialized garden to another representing regions of Australia, Japan, China, the southwestern desert of the US, the jungle, an herb garden and a rose garden too. It is located in San Marino, California which is near Pasadena, in the Los Angeles area. It is the former residence of Henry E. Huntington and his wife, Arabella. Mr. Huntington was an astute businessman who made his fortune in the railroad business, as well as water, power and land development. He was a collector of books and art, and his home was built to showcase his massive library which contains 6 million items. The collections includes important works such as a Gutenburg Bible, and Thomas Gainsburough's The Blue Boy. The library and art museums are open to the public. The price of admission allows access to the gardens as well as the buildings containing the art displays and the library. 

Near the entrance of the property is a lawn flanked by statues. 
Some are sweet.
Some are not.
The rose garden is a lovely area overlooking the treetops below. 
Our drought is evident at The Huntington, as the sweeping lawns between the garden beds are looking thirsty. It has become a common sight in our area, lawns slowly turning brown, getting just enough water to keep them partly alive. In our area, lawns only grow with regular watering from sprinklers and we are allowed to water our lawns only twice per week. While the lawns are struggling, the gardens at The Huntington are beautiful.

Next to the rose garden is the herb garden which was simply buzzing with bees. There is also a tea room and conservatory there which we did not explore.
My husband, seeking shade. It was 90 degrees that day.
Perhaps one of the prettiest gardens is the Japanese garden. The koi ponds and the shade of the bamboo provide a cool spot to rest from the warm sun.
The bamboo was too many shades of green to count; soothing and mellow. I want to paint my den these colors.
Strolling through the Australian garden, the scent of eucalyptus is fresh and comforting but that section was too hot to stop for photos. Skipping the desert section was an easy call. I grew up in the desert. Let's just say I've seen desert plants while walking in the hot sun before. We took our time through the jungle sections though. The sounds of rushing water and singing birds mask the noises of the people making it peaceful and rejuvenating. 
I could have spent an hour in the jungle just relaxing near the stream but we still wanted to see the art! One building has European art and the other has American art. There are painting, statues, ceramics and glassware, furniture and tapestries. Here are some of my favorites.
What can I say, that last one spoke to me. Am I right, ladies? I have no idea what scene it represents, but the abdominals are impressive. 

On a more serious note, we thoroughly enjoyed our little trip around the world provided by The Huntington and I would highly recommend spending the day enjoying the art and gardens. I imagine it is amazing when the first roses of the spring are in bloom. I won't miss that next year.

I didn't take many photos when we visited as I was there with my husband celebrating our wedding anniversary. I took a few quick photos with my frustrating little camera, but mostly I just wanted to enjoy his company. He knows how I have longed for a good camera, and he surprised me and suggested we go to the camera store on the way home. What a sweet man! We bought a Sony mirrorless camera and I am so excited about it I can hardly stand it. Once I really learn how to use it, I would love to go back to the Huntington to take better pictures. There are so many beautiful scenes there, and now that I have a good camera, I may need a membership so I can go back throughout the seasons to take pictures.


  1. Your blogs are always interesting Andie. Really the Huntington garden is sprawling with beautiful flora and exquisite pieces of art. The colourful flowers and the tender scent that is spread all around the place must be a paradise for nature lovers. even the art collections are awe – inspiring. ☺

    1. Thanks for the comment. I am excited to go back when the weather cools down this fall.