The Huntington Gardens: Down to Earth & Out of This World

You know that feeling a garden can give you—when you’re wandering around and suddenly you have to remind yourself what town/city you’re even in? That’s the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Just outside Los Angeles, its campus encompasses a library with more than 7 million manuscripts like the papers of Octavia E. Butler and the Ellesmere Chaucer; art galleries; and a 120-acre garden.

This dreamscape has 12 gardens, including lily ponds, an Australian garden, a California garden, a desert garden, a rose garden, a Shakespeare garden, and a Japanese garden with a wild topography structured with a moon bridge, koi ponds and a ceremonial tea house.

Creeping past the cork oak (Quercus suber).

The fruit of the Gardenia cornuta, native to southern Africa.

Here are some shots from a recent visit. Also open is Visual Voyages, a truly stunning exhibition featuring the botanical art from Latin America in conjunction with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. No photos were allowed in that gallery, so you’ll have to take our word for it: Go. Now. Although dated from the 15th through 19th centuries, the art feels radical and revelatory in how it depicts plant life cycles, dimensionality and the collision of cultures, flattened into 2-D.

Why the urgency? The show ends January 8, 2018, just in time for the start of camellia season.

Until then, let’s stroll past the statues and the astilbes.


The golden shrimp plant (Pachystachys lutea).

The daylilies were crinkly and ferocious overlooking the conservatory.

A Black Diamond crepe myrtle pops against the clear sky.

This desert stunner, ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), blooms red in spring.

Dusty miller on concrete creates a tonal mood.

A rainbow sea of astilbe.

Pomegranate season!!1!

Trellis intensity.

Roar of the roses.

A cloud of jasmine that went over our heads.

A place to sit and stare at the cosmos.

The seductive entrance to the Japanese garden.

Don’t miss the bonsai collection.

The wild swaying vines of the sausage tree.

Hello, Desert Garden.

Opuntia, golden barrel cactus, yucca, aloes & more welcome you.

A moment with the golden barrel (Echinocactus grusonii).

The iconic lumps of the monstrose totem pole cactus (Lophocereus schottii monstrose).

Tree aloe (Aloe barberae) scrapes the sky and heals us.