Monday, July 12, 2010

Huntington Museum, Library, and Gardens

In 1919, California railroad magnate Henry Huntington (1850-1927) founded the private non-profit Huntington institution. The Huntington, which is located just east of Pasadena in San Marino, houses an art museum and a rare-books research library that focuses on American and British history and literature. The Huntington is also one of the best botanical gardens in the country and includes Chinese water gardens, Japanese gardens, lily ponds, rose gardens, waterfalls, Australian gardens, jungle gardens, a greenhouse conservatory, and a desert garden.

A view toward the rose garden:

Statues line the grassy promenade leading up to the Huntington mansion:

Here is a traditional pedestrian "moon bridge" or "drum bridge" in the Japanese garden:

My favorite part of the Japanese gardens complex is the wonderful Bonsai Court which houses the collection of the Golden State Bonsai Federation:

California Juniper bonsai trees:

Next to the bonsai court is a beautiful dry garden with raked gravel:

The cacti and succulents in the outstanding desert garden are my favorite part of the Huntington:

Everything in the Chinese water garden has a charming name like "Pavilion for Washing Away Thoughts," "Lake of Reflected Fragrance," or "Isle for Welcoming Cranes." Pictured below are the "Jade Ribbon Bridge" and the "Pavilion of the Three Friends." The three friends represent courage during hard times and include the pine, which stays green all through the winter; bamboo, which is strong and flexible; and the plum tree, which flowers in cool weather.
The arches in the Jade Ribbon Bridge create beautiful full circles with their reflections. If you look closely in the picture, you can see a duck with four fluffy ducklings heading toward the bridge.

Orchids in the conservatory:

One of many fountains on the grounds:

I highly recommend that tourists to LA visit the Huntington. It is preferable to visit on a weekday if possible because the entrance fee is cheaper and the gardens are often very crowded on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Huntington is kid-friendly - children will enjoy the fish ponds, waterfalls, ducks, and little bridges in the Japanese and Chinese gardens; the lizards and hummingbirds in the desert garden; and the interactive activities in the conservatory and children's garden.

Visiting information is available at the Huntington website.

View Huntington Gardens in a larger map


  1. Vanessa, this blog is really amazing. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given your generally exceptional talents. But seriously, the photos are beautiful and the text is crisp, casual and informative. I have some cat-obsessed friends who will be interested. And some other friends either in or about to be in LA, I'll pass it on. Given my general aversion to the natural outdoors, I have a particular affinity for urban beauty. Keep up the good work.

  2. This seems a beautiful garden with lots of beautiful bonsai trees in the conservatory and the photography is also excellent