Garden travels: The Huntington Botanical Gardens

A few days ago, I wrote about visiting the Los County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens while in Southern California for the annual Garden Writers symposium. Today, I want to show you another amazing garden that was truly the highlight of my time down there: Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

It was wonderful to explore the enormous grounds that are broken into different regions, but I should also point out that it was 104 degrees that day. Ugh. So the biggest challenge was seeing most of it without having heatstroke!

The Huntington, as it's most commonly referred to, was originally established by Henry E. Huntington in 1919. He was a wealthy businessman who had a passion for collecting artwork, books and manuscripts, and plants from around the world.

At one point, I went into the Library to escape the heat and had the privilege of seeing the Gutenberg Bible, Chaucer's Tales, Audubon's "Birds of America," Shakespeare's First Folio and so on. What a rich history I found, all in one place!

But, as a passionate gardener, I was particularly interested in the gardens. They cover an impressive 120 acres, so you can imagine what a challenge it was to not become too overheated that day.

Highlights of the gardens include a delightful Children's garden (we should create one for Spokane, don't you think?), the Australian garden, the desert garden, a formal herb garden, a wonderful rose that I enjoyed strolling through, the jungle garden, the lily ponds, the Shakespeare garden, the subtropical garden, the Japanese garden, and much, much more.

My one regret was that I didn't see the Chinese garden. I really wanted to but was feeling very lightheaded from the heat by that point, so I reluctantly gave up and headed back to the entrance.

Before I forget, the gift shop at the Huntington is not to be missed! (and air-conditioned, thank heavens) It is huge and the selection of goodies runs the gamut from garden-themed items and fun things for kids to home decor and jewelry. You can even shop online!

Please have fun browsing through the photos below. Remember that you can click on any of them to view a larger image.

For more information on the gardens at the Huntington, follow this link to the listings.

Children's garden

Children's garden - fun tunnel to wander through.

Rose garden

Rose garden

Jungle garden

Desert garden

Lily ponds

Japanese garden