Friday, June 3, 2016

Visit to The Huntington Gardens - Part 1

To celebrate my recent birthday, my husband took me to The Huntington Gardens.  I don't visit as often as I'd like as I hate driving through downtown Los Angeles (despite the fact I worked downtown for 8 years in one job and had a relatively long-term assignment in Pasadena in another job).  But the Sunday morning traffic was remarkably light and the commute in each direction was just under an hour (although it would have been longer had I been doing the driving instead of my husband).

Even though we didn't cover anywhere near all the gardens, I took a ridiculous number of photos.  I've gone through these and tossed out a lot but there are still way too many to share in one post without testing your patience so I'll break our visit up into at least 2 parts.  This one will focus on the Chinese Garden.  I saw this garden for the first time shortly after it opened to the public in 2008.  The plantings were very spare.  At that time the structures, rock formations and lake dominated the scene.  That was not the case during this visit.

We entered here after touring the Japanese Garden

Chinese gardens are known for directing the visitor's eye as exemplified here


The lotus weren't blooming yet but the water lilies were



Although I didn't have a "before" shot of this area, this photo exemplified for me just how much the plants have grown since 2008



 


The rock formations still play a central role in the garden



I have no photos from our 2008 visit but my husband found a few taken by my late mother-in-law.  I couldn't find any that exactly replicated the views I photographed, however.  This one comes the closest:

2008 photo on the left and 2016 photo on the right


The Huntington has plans for a major expansion of the Chinese Garden.  There were banners advertising the plans posted in front of the areas where work was planned.

Two of the banners advertising what's to come


I'll cover our stroll through the Australian and Desert Gardens in another post.  My visit overlapped with one by Hoover Boo of "Piece of Eden,' although we didn't run into one another.  You can see her post here.  For now, I'll leave you with a few images of the California Garden near the entrance.  It's undergone a dramatic renovation since my last visit, part of an effort to conserve water by eliminating lawn and selecting more drought-tolerant plants.

To avoid the incoming crowds, we went right upon entry into the Huntington instead of going straight ahead and thus didn't see the California Garden until we were leaving

I was pleased to see that many of the plants in my own garden, including Euphorbia 'Dean's hybrid', Lavandula stoechas and Anigozanthos were also featured here

This shot shows Achillea 'Moonshine', currently a prominent feature of my own garden, Penstemon and Santolina

View of the California Garden from the entrance area


We toured the gift shop before heading home.  My husband was feeling bad about buying me 3 new hoses for my birthday (even though I was happy to get them!) and, when I checked out a vase, he suggested that maybe I needed one for my my weekly vase posts.  In addition to vases, I checked out the garden books.  The Huntington had a whole section focused on the new California garden.  I was pleased to see several I already owned, including these:

Two books authored by Pam Penick, who also writes the blog, Digging


You'll see my new vase in another post - soon I expect.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

32 comments:

  1. The Huntington's Chinese Garden reminds me very much of the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland. So much that I don't even feel like I missed anything by not visiting it. I know the Huntington has plenty else to offer, though.

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    1. The Desert Garden is pretty impressive - the Australian Garden not so much, in my opinion.

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  2. The Chinese garden has come so far the last couple of years! I actually love it in the rain, when the roof tiles make perfect drops. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

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    1. I enjoyed the Chinese Garden much more than I'd expected, Renee. It really has come a long way in a relatively short period.

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  3. Reminds us of Lan Su garden in Portland, lovely!

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  4. The Huntington is such an amazing place. Every post I see about it makes me want to visit even more. I didn't know they had a Chinese garden as well. One of these years, I must visit southern California!

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    1. You need to make a visit, Peter! I read an article by a reviewer recommending at least 2 days just to see the Huntington. We were there half a day and didn't even cover all the gardens and we didn't even step into any of the art galleries this trip.

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  5. It's not hard to take hundreds of photos at the Huntington. Gorgeous, gorgeous garden. It is interesting to see it in May rather than in January when we went.I keep looking at your photos and thinking 'did I see that?' I don't remember some of those areas. Yes, need to go back and see what you saw.

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    1. I had a similar reaction when viewing Hoover Boo's post at "Piece of Eden," Jenny - and we were there the very same day. There's too much to take in on one visit.

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  6. As you probably know I've been to the Huntington multiple times, but never seen the Chinese garden...have to be honest and say it seems like a waste of time when there are so many more interesting things to see. We all have our favorites right!? I do look forward to seeing the entry garden someday, as that will be new to me. Oh...and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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    1. I'm not surprised that you find the Chinese Garden unexciting, Loree (ditto for the Japanese Garden, I expect) but it's more exotic for us in SoCal than it is for denizens of the PNW. It'll be interesting to see if the entry garden keeps changing - I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

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  7. Happy Birthday Kris, visiting a garden is the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. I found the planting style in the Californian garden very different to currant styles of planting, I didn't like it any less for that but I found my response to it interesting, nice plants. I have that bright yellow Achillea

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    1. The California Garden struck me as meadow-style, although heavier on flowers than grasses. Meadow style gardens are gathering more interest here - in fact, I've been thinking of using more grasses in areas of my own garden to create some of that effect.

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  8. Happy birthday, what a wonderful birthday treat, it looks a fabulous place to visit. The Chinese garden is amazing.

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    1. If you come to Southern California and want to see a fabulous garden (or I should say, gardens), visiting The Huntington is a must, Chloris. I have no doubt you'd enjoy it.

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  9. What a great way to celebrate your birthday! Happy Birthday! Loved seeing your photos of this garden. Visited it several years ago and there was much construction going on in the Chinese Garden section at that time. They must have big plans for it.

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    1. The Chinese Garden must be a major draw, Susie - the Huntington is literally pouring money into it. I think Phase 2 was completed in 2014 and I believe there are something like 5 more segments planned. They're even planning a new art gallery in that area.

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  10. How inadvertently affirming to see the plants you are using to great effect in your own garden massed as they are at the Huntington. Great gardening minds, all working alike!

    Happy belated birthday! Good for your husband to realize that though those hoses were welcome additions to your gardening arsenal, a lovely vase is an ideal way to celebrate years of floral arrangements yet to come!

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    1. I was surprised and frankly a little touched that my husband was so enthusiastic about finding me a new vase at the Huntington, Deb. And it was definitely something I would have balked at buying for myself given the price.

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  11. Happy birthday, Kris! And, oh, the shame! I've yet to visit the new Chinese garden -- new since 2008? Oh, the shame! I've planted penstemons for summer too after a long hiatus in my garden. I'm seeing Euphorb. Dean's Hyb at the nurseries and need to give it a go. It looks so much like the weedy euphorb I constantly pull up that I've been reluctant, but if you say it's good, then all right!

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    1. To be honest, I wasn't drawn to the Chinese Garden upon entry either, assuming that the plants would still be as uninspiring as I found them in 2008. We went that way principally because there was less visitor traffic moving in that direction when we arrived but I really enjoyed it.

      I have what I suspect are the same Euphorbia weeds in my garden but 'Dean's Hybrid' is more well-behaved. However, it does move about a bit (particularly on my back slope where I suspect it's desperately seeking water). It hasn't become a pest, though, and I haven't noticed any of the rampant self-seeding E. characias 'Black Pearl' has been guilty of.

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  12. I'm so happy you showed us photos of the Chinese Garden since I've never been there. It is stunning. I don't know why I was surprised, considering everything at the Huntington is world class.

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    1. The Huntington definitely sets the bar here.

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  13. Going back through all the posts I've missed over the past couple of weeks, but I won't leave a trail of comments for you to chase, just say I'm enjoying them all... ;-) Your shots of the Chinese Garden look wonderful! The glimpse through the window is a lovely reminder of the need to create "through" vignettes in a garden, though I have no idea how to translate that into my own!
    I must admit I'm grateful for your view of the lavenders as I've been wondering whether I really should somehow deadhead my L. stoechas plants?!! Apparently I don't need to worry :)
    I'm very much looking forward to part 2!
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday - it certainly sounds like it!

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    1. It remains to be seen whether the Huntington lets the plants in the California Garden remain in place or "refreshes" the whole thing when the plants are all past their prime. I tend to deadhead to excess, which limits self-seeding - that's not my intention but I'm a bit of a neat freak, even in the garden. (For example, I've cut back my Spanish lavender.)

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  14. The Chinese Garden reminds me a lot of a Japanese Garden, and I wonder: Did the Chinese inspire the Japanese, or was it the other way around? At any rate, this Chinese Garden is lovely. The large rock formation is incredible!

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    1. I have the vague understanding that Chinese beliefs and practices influenced Japanese garden design but I expect there's been a lot of cross-pollination (no pun intended) along the way. The Huntington also has a Japanese Garden, which in this case is far older than the Chinese Garden.

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  15. The Entry Garden is constantly changing--there are new plants and whole new sections replanted every time we visit. Either they are still experimenting, or it's designed for constant change.

    So sweet of your husband to buy you that vase!

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    1. Given the visibility of the entrance garden, it doesn't surprise me to hear that they refresh it regularly.

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  16. I really liked the Huntington's CA garden - it really impressed me that they were showcasing a practical garden that fits the SoCal landscape. Technically a desert, wasting water on trying to maintain an American lawn is ridiculous. I think your garden is showing your neighbors (and bloggers) that xeriophytic gardens can be truly beautiful!

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    1. Although parts of SoCal are indeed desert, LA and its immediate surrounding is more correctly identified as a Mediterranean climate (see this article, among many: http://la.curbed.com/2012/7/12/10352572/lets-get-one-thing-straight-los-angeles-is-not-a-desert ) but, that aside, lawns are still out of place here in my opinion. The Huntington is part of an ongoing initiative by local botanic gardens and prominent nurseries to break SoCal residents of their fixation on swaths of thirsty lawn.

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