I was lucky to win a one-year membership to The Huntington Library & Gardens
in a drawing conducted by Denise at A Growing Obsession
back in December but I didn't have an opportunity to activate the membership until this month, when my husband and I visited the gardens to celebrate our anniversary. As timing goes, it wasn't the best time to visit as it coincided with Huntington's Chinese New Year celebration and the venue was packed with people, but we enjoyed our visit anyway.
The noise and loud music near the entrance was bothering my husband so we dashed through the area relatively quickly but I did manage to snap a few shots.
|The Celebration Garden features plants suitable to coastal California's Mediterranean climate|
|While some elements remain in place, this area seems to be tweaked on a regular basis|
|Plants spotted as we passed through the California Garden included: Grevillea 'Moonlight' (left), a noID Leucospermum in bloom (middle), and what I assume was Salvia clevelandii or a hybrid (right). I didn't notice the mass of what appears to be Phylica pubescens in the last photo until I reviewed it.|
We headed off in the direction of the Desert Garden, briefly stopping to admire the Palm Garden.
|As both my husband and I grew up surrounded by palm trees, we tend to ignore them but they were looking particularly good during this visit|
|We also admired this mass of what I think was creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris). I've never seen it used in this fashion and, while I don't generally like artificially pruned plants, I did like this.|
The Desert Garden was blissfully quiet, with the buzz of hummingbirds producing the only sounds.
|I can't even imagine how many years it took for these plants to form this wonderful composition|
|Another wonderful composition, this one featuring golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) and silvery twin-spined cactus (Mamillaria geminispina)|
|Two perfect specimens of Agave ovatifolia surrounded by the cacti shown in the prior photo|
|I think this mass of spiky silver foliage is Puya venusta, although I couldn't find a label|
|Two attractive small-scale aloes, an Aloe aculeata hybrid on the left and A. virens on the right|
|Two very different Euphorbias, Euphorbia atropurpurea on the left and E. canariensis on the right|
|Two noID agaves. The one on the left has the widest leaves relative to its size I can remember seeing on an agave. Does anyone know what it is? The agave on right had produced its classic asparagus-like stalk but hadn't yet begun to flower.|
We were somewhere between the Australian and Subtropical Gardens when my husband called my attention to a wildlife visitor.
|It was nearly 11am when we spotted this coyote, who was on a fast trot away from another group of human visitors. That's late in the day to come across these nocturnal predators but perhaps he'd extended his prowl to take in the Chinese New Year celebration. It is the Year of the Dog after all.|
After the brief moment of excitement over the coyote, I snapped a few more photos as we made our way toward the Japanese Garden.
|I didn't recognize this tree but its twisted shape was captivating|
|I snapped the Justicia leonardii on the left because it was one of the most colorful plants in this subdued area of the garden. I snapped the Plectranthus argentatus on the right because I thought the use of this plant as a low ground cover was interesting.|
The Japanese Garden has always been one of my favorite places at the Huntington. Even through anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I adore flowers, I also appreciate the quiet restraint of the Japanese Garden. Created in 1912, it's also one of the oldest segments of the gardens.
|We entered the Japanese Garden through its towering bamboo forest|
|I have mixed feelings about bonsai. On the one hand, I appreciate the artistry of these creations, but on the other I don't think I could bring myself to torture plants in this way, even if I had the patience. From left to right, the subjects are a Japanese Black Pine, a Chinese Elm, and a Foemina Juniper.|
|There were some flowers in bloom! The azaleas surrounding the pond outside the ceremonial teahouse added a bright spot of color.|
|More azaleas and a pretty magnolia were in bloom a short distance from the pond|
|A wide view of the Japanese Garden's central area|
We took a break for lunch, merging back into the New Year celebration crowd so I could buy something to eat. (My husband had packed his lunch.) Afterwards, we shirted through the rose, herb and Shakespeare gardens.
|The rose and herb gardens weren't yet ready to celebrate spring and the Shakespeare Garden was planted mainly with bedding plants but this meadow-like display of foxgloves and grasses was interesting. |
We swung through the Chinese Garden, another of my favorite places, but as expected it was crowded with celebrants so we didn't stay long.
|I was surprised to see the dead Lotus flowers still standing proud in the lake but they made an attractive display|
|Musicians and dancers were entertaining New Year's celebrants in this open air structure|
The weather was perfect for our visit even if the gardens were more crowded than we'd have liked. Unfortunately, the freeway traffic through downtown Los Angeles on our way home was particularly awful due to the closure of a major exit and the trip was made even more nerve-wracking by a near accident when a driver in a lane alongside of us inexplicably slammed on his brakes and spun his pick-up truck nearly 180 degrees, narrowly missing us. Further proof that Los Angeles freeways aren't for the faint of heart.
Best wishes for a pleasant weekend, full of only good surprises.
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party