The Huntington Library and Garden

A frequently updated collection.

A Quick Visit On A Great Day

Nancy and I enjoyed a quick visit to the Huntington. The day was beautiful in that it was cool and almost empty. We ate a very good lunch at the new Chinese restaurant and otherwise we didn’t get far, just a stroll through the Chinese and Japanese gardens.


The Huntington

Welcome, from the Desert Garden in the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.


From the entrance strolling our way to the Chinese Garden, and then, BAM, CALDER, “Jerusalem Stabile” 1976
Jim’s picture. I love this picture! Jim, Lill, me, Rick
I googled around a little and can’t find why Mercury is standing, tippy-toe, on some guy’s mouth.
Here come several views around the Chinese Garden. I don’t know the percentage of normal tickets they are selling now but it is AWESOME that there are the perfect number of people. We were not once in any situation where Other people felt too close. Only the gardens are open but it’s always been that you run out of time and energy before you run out of things to see in the gardens.
(This one has the correct color profile. The problem is most apparent with people.)
From the Huntington website: “Liu Fang Yuan is inspired by the gardens of Suzhou, a city located near Shanghai in southeastern China. During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), wealthy scholars and merchants there built tasteful private gardens combining architecture, waterworks, rockeries, plants, and calligraphy…
…Many of the features in Liu Fang Yuan are modeled on specific Suzhou gardens, eight of which are depicted in the woodcarvings in the Love for the Lotus Pavilion (Ai Lian Xie 愛蓮榭).”
(Will I have the energy to fix them all?)
Into the Japanese Garden, from the Huntington website: “the Zen Court provides an example of the contained landscapes that once evolved in the temple gardens of Japan. Patterns raked into gravel, rock formations and shrubbery are used to symbolize water, space, movement and other abstract ideas.”

Oh golly this was fun! One of the guards in the Japanese Garden had trained these birds to come to his palm for a peanut treat. Ohhhh may I do that? Yesss you may. Having a bird land on your hand is magic. And FAST. He is there and gone in the blink of an eye, far faster than any one of us could get off a shot.

The iconic moon bridge in the Japanese Garden. In spring blooms will shower the garden with color and delights.
Who could resist these guys? Certainly not me.

Rick’s picture in the Desert Garden. William Hertrich began collecting for this garden in 1907. Wow, I really thought I remembered when there wasn’t the Desert Garden. Another thing about which I was wrongadidewrongwrong…


The lily ponds are in fine reflecto mode but rather scarce on the lilies. From here we made fond farewells and Lill drove me home (thank you Lill!). As well as the few number of people, the dining option was very good too. There were ready-made sandwiches and salads to pick up and the outdoor tables were so safely laid out, we all felt very comfortable.

The signature piece of…

The signature piece of the Huntington Library and Botanical Garden in San Marino, CA. He’s Blue Boy. And in the last slide you’ll find his pal Pinkie.

Quotes from the website.

Photos from a few visits are included here.

“The Huntington Library, Art…

“The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington.

“Henry Huntington, a key figure in the development of Southern California in the early 20th century, was also an active collector of rare books and manuscripts, art, and plants. By the time he established the institution, he and his wife had amassed an extensive collection focusing on British and American history, literature, and art, as well as rare and spectacular plant specimens.”

Henry Huntington was an early entrepreneur and great investor who made his money in street railways, electric power, and real estate (after inheriting a railroad fortune from his uncle and marrying his uncle’s widow.) “By rapidly pouring vast amounts of capital into his triad of interrelated businesses, all critical for regional growth, he achieved a virtual monopoly over the development of many parts of the Los Angeles basin.” Notice the difference in tone? This quote is from ‘Henry E Huntington and the Creation of Southern California’.

“Opened in October 2005,…

“Opened in October 2005, The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science is the cornerstone of a new, multi-phased botanical education center at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. This striking new building adds a public exhibition and interactive learning space to the existing facilities for botanical research.”

“The new conservatory features…

“The new conservatory features four distinct “environments” created for different hands-on botanical exhibits including a Tropical Forest Rotunda, Cloud Forest, Carnivorous Plant Bog, and Field Lab. Living plant displays, water features, and interactive learning stations invite active exploration and discovery.”

“Inspired by the centuries-old…

“Inspired by the centuries-old Chinese tradition of private gardens designed for scholarly pursuits, Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, combines the scenic beauty of nature with the expressiveness of literature to give deeper meaning to the landscape. A walk through its paths enriches the mind and spirit alike. The Huntington, with its renowned collections of art, rare books, manuscripts, and plants, was founded on this same philosophy by Henry E. Huntington in 1919.”

“Water (symbolizing the ever-changing)…

“Water (symbolizing the ever-changing) and rocks (the eternal) create harmony in the garden, balancing nature’s yin and yang. Weathered limestone rocks from Lake Tai line the water’s edge, evoking the craggy mountains of a Chinese landscape painting. Water creates an added visual dimension to the garden by reflecting the changing moods of the light, clouds, and sky.”

A passageway and a…

A passageway and a serene view of the lake.

“Plants and flowers, too, serve a symbolic purpose in a Chinese garden, as well as a decorative one. Certain plants may represent the seasons (peach blossoms for spring, pine for winter), while others stand for attributes such as purity (lotus) or uprightness (bamboo). While form and color appeal to the eye, other senses are engaged by a fragrance wafting in the air, the sound of water falling over stones, or raindrops striking broad leaves.”

The Chinese Garden was…

The Chinese Garden was built by craftsmen brought from Suzhou, China who fabricated much of the buildings back home and then finished them off while in residence here. They brought all their tools and extra materials for the inevitable new requirement.

It is quite a feat of hand made construction and the director’s feeling is that such a thing will never be built again.

“Many of China’s great…

“Many of China’s great garden-builders were wealthy merchants with scholarly interests, and their gardens were places for literary and artistic activities such as poetry, painting, and calligraphy.”

There are many more interesting views too, for next time.

The Japanese Garden is…

The Japanese Garden is very lovely including a furnished home to enjoy, a bonsai pavilion, and more.

“When Mr. Huntington asked William Hertrich, his garden superintendent, to look for plants to develop a Japanese garden, Hertrich approached George Marsh, an art collector and importer of Asian art objects. Mr. Marsh had opened a tea garden in Pasadena around 1904, which was not successful commercially. He offered to sell the contents of his establishment: plants, garden ornaments, and Japanese house.

“In 1912, seventy men worked daily for 5 months to move the house, plants, and garden ornaments to the Huntington and establish the garden. Later, a Japanese craftsman built the moon bridge and gong tower. In 1968, the Zen court and Bonsai court were opened to the public.”

“The Huntington Desert Garden…

“The Huntington Desert Garden is one of the largest and oldest assemblages of cacti and other succulents in the world. Nearly 100 years old, it has grown from a small area on the Raymond fault scarp when in 1907-1908 William Hertrich brought in plants from local nurseries, private residences, public parks, and from collection trips to the Southwest and Mexican deserts.”

“Today the two dozen…

“Today the two dozen families of succulents and other arid adapted plants have developed into a 10 acre garden display, the Huntington’s most important conservation collection, a most important mission and challenge.”

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