Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Exploring The Huntington Botanical Gardens - Part one...

Despite the gloomy start to Monday in L.A. we decided to risk the rain showers and head to The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, near Pasadena.
Huntington Botanical Gardens entrance
On this visit we stuck to exploring the grounds and left the Huntington Library and Art Collections for another occasion.
Beautiful orange flower close up
On weekdays admission is $15 for adults and the grounds are open from midday until 4.30pm.
Huntington Gardens yellow flowers
We arrived around 2.30pm and there was still plenty of time to have a lovely stroll around amongst the plants and gardens.
Huntington Gardens purple flowers
With some clouds remaining in the sky it meant that some of the flowers had closed up, but there were still lots of sights and scents to savour.
Red Lilies Huntington
I hope you enjoy the array of colour and the splendor of the gardens.
Huntington Gardens orange flowers
Even though I worked on a gardening magazine for a short time, I'm not that familiar with the horticultural names.
Pink tree blossom
So if anyone would like to share their knowledge of the plants and flowers I photographed that would be much appreciated.
Huntington Gardens
Sadly only service dogs are allowed in the gardens, so Cooper wasn't allowed to bound around the grounds, which on reflection is probably for the best.
Birds of Paradise at Huntington Gardens
I have to say I love this shot of the Birds of Paradise flowers, it looks like there is a flock of birds trapped behind whose plant stems.
Pink blossom
We have some amazing gardens in the U.K., like Kew Gardens near where we used to live in London, but what the inclement British weather doesn't really allow for are large outdoor cacti and succulent displays like in the Desert Garden at Huntington.

Huntington's Desert Garden
Huntington Desert GardenHuntington Desert Garden pathway
Huntington Desert Garden cacti
Huntington Desert Garden plants
I loved the alienness of the Desert Garden with all its varieties of spiny cacti.
Huntington Desert Garden flowering cactus
Huntington Desert Garden cactuses
Desert Garden Huntington
Huntington Desert Garden cacti
Cacti in Huntington Desert Garden
I also couldn't resist including this black and white image from the Desert Garden of a hummingbird perched on a plant frond.
Huntington Desert Garden hummingbird
Next up are the Lily Ponds surrounded by grasses, trees and flowers in a variety of different interesting shapes and sizes. Oh, and a few ducks for good measure too.

Huntington's Lily Ponds
Huntington Lily ponds
Huntington Gardens ducksLily pad Huntington Lily Ponds
Lily Ponds Huntington GardensLily Pond Huntington
Standing sentry over this Lily Pond is a bronze sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi by Clara Leonora Huntington.
Saint Francis of Assisi Lily Pond sculpture
Lily pad duckHuntington Lily Ponds
Huntington pond fronds
If you're feeling a little tired walking around all the various gardens I'd recommend spending some time relaxing in the Japanese Garden.

Huntington's Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden HuntingtonHuntington Japanese Garden trees and shrubs
Not only can you admire different Bonsai trees, but you can simply take a seat and go all zen in the tranquil dry landscape garden amongst the unique combination of raked gravel, rocks and plants.
Bonsai trees at Huntington Botanical GardensZen dry landscape garden Huntington
Then it's on to the drum bridge and flowing stream in the rest of the Japanese inspired garden.
Japanese Garden bridge view HuntingtonJapanese Garden drum bridge Huntington
Huntington Japanese Garden
There are are also massive brightly coloured koi fish to admire in the ponds and geese wandering the grounds.
Japanese Koi fishJapanese Koi carpHuntington Gardens Goose
Japanese Garden at Huntington
In addition to all the fabulous flora and fauna at The Huntington Gardens, the grounds are also adorned by statues of mythical characters, gods and heroes, but more on those another day.
Jason enters Huntington Children's Garden Door
For now I'm off to drink a little potion to help me fit through that very 'Alice in Wonderland' blue door in the Children's Garden...

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