The Huntington Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens was founded in 1919 by Henry Edwards Huntington. Originally from New York, he worked for his uncle, Collis Huntington, one of the owners of Central Pacific Railroad. Eventually he made his way to LA and bought what was then known as the San Marino Ranch and tansformed it into the Gardens it is today.

On this trip we decided to just visit the gardens as it was such a beautiful day. I will definitely be going back to do a follow up post on the library and galleries. There are more than a dozen gardens covering 12o acres of the land. You can easily get lost in enjoying all the different areas and I found myself really paying attention to the varieties and even getting ideas for my own garden.

Walking down from the Rose Garden, there is a brilliant, picturesque walkway leading down to the Japanese Garden, which was opened to the public in 1928. Covering nine acres, it was inspired by widespread Western fascination with Asian culture. As was fashionable at the time, many wealthy Americans and Europeans added exotic gardens to their estates. Henry E. Huntington decided to build his own Japanese garden on his San Marino estate. Purchased in its entirety by Huntington, the materials also included the Japanese House. The moon bridge, commissioned by Huntington, was built by Japanese craftsman Toichiro Kawai.

Elements of this five-room house were created in Japan and acquired by Huntington in 1911. It is considered one of the best examples of early 20th century Japanese architecture in the United States. In 1968, The garden was expanded to include a bonsai collection and zen court. In the Harry Hirao Suiseki Court you can touch the suiseki or viewing stones, an ancient Japanese art form, or meditate at the Zen Court, 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.

Behind the Japanese Garden there was a nice zigzag walkway that goes back downhill and leads you to the Australian Garden. Just past that is the Jungle Garden and Lily Ponds.

As we came up the East side of the grounds along side Oxford Rd. we came to the Desert Garden is one of the largest and oldest assemblages of cacti and other succulents in the world. It was such a sunny day so we had a beautiful walk through this area and we were pleasantly surprised at how many different plants there were that we really loved.