Let Your Imagination Go Wild at the Huntington Botanical Gardens


Discover the magic of the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. Explore the constantly changing gardens and inspire your imagination.

Every time I visit the Huntington Botanical Gardens, I see something new. 

This visit was no different.

Our first stop was the Desert Garden. It is a display that inspires Seussian visions: Unwary visitors encased in succulents. Other worldly plants that appear on the verge of marching pass, leaning forward, ready for the command. An ocean tide pool with spines.

whimsical cactus at the huntington

Take me to your leader at the huntington
"Take me to your leader"

Green Creature at the huntington
A multi-legged creature ready to emerge from its pupa?

Spiny tide pool at the huntington

Was this a tide pool? What was a starfish doing in this desert garden?

Star fish at the huntington

It was one of the surprises of the trip. I had never noticed it before, but once I saw one, I saw many! 

Carrion plant at the huntington

Not a starfish, but a carrion plant, Stapelia grandifora. Apparently it gives off the scent of dead animals to attract insects for pollinations.

red flower succulent at the huntington

The Desert Garden is filled with cactus and succulents from around the world, over 5000 species!

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is one of our favorite attractions in Southern California. 

It originally was the property of the Huntington family, railroad tycoons. They were avid collectors of flora, art, and manuscripts. Fortunately for us lesser mortals, the family created a public trust that included the property, gardens, arts, and manuscripts. 

We passed on saying hello to the Blue Boy and Pinkie, and stayed out in the gardens. What was that strange looking bird? It flew away too quickly for a photo, but we could hear it in the trees. I turned to my Merlin app from Cornell University on my iPhone and recorded the song. 

This is a picture from the Cornell collection, a Red-whiskered Bulbul.

Red-whiskered Bulbul at the huntington

A walk through the gardens leads you to many parts of the world. You could be in Australia, then climb a hill through a southeast Asian forest. The Japanese and Chinese gardens have been used as shooting locales by the film industry. 

Gingko at the huntington
Gingko turns gold in the fall

I saw a young child walk under a potted palm and take a photo of the leaves. I thought, "What did she see?" The branch was too low for me, so I put my arm through and took the photo blind.

Palm perspective

I would not have seen the above image if I had not seen the child take a photo. It made me think of how gardens continuously inspire the imagination. Aliens? Starfish? Linear Perspective? Gardens are constantly changing, challenging how we see nature. 

Isaac Newton had the right idea. Sit under a tree and who knows what you will discover. 


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Townhouse Gardening: Let Your Imagination Go Wild at the Huntington Botanical Gardens
Let Your Imagination Go Wild at the Huntington Botanical Gardens
Discover the magic of the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. Explore the constantly changing gardens and inspire your imagination.
Townhouse Gardening
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