The Huntington-Taking a Turn about the Garden

by Lynn on January 29, 2012

Huntington Gardens magnolia blossomA few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. Like Butchart Gardens in Canada, the Huntington offers a unique garden experience for visitors of all ages.

Huntington Library and Gardens front entranceThe large Beaux-Arts mansion was originally the residence of Henry and Arabella Huntington. Both had a keen interest in European art, and the building now houses one of the finest collections in the country.  Of special interest are the famed Pinkie and The Blue Boy, by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Thomas Gainsborough, respectively. In addition to huge original paintings, there are beautiful sculptures and exquisite decorative arts. I especially love the china and porcelain pieces on display.

Huntington Art GalleryThe architecture of the building is magnificent. Designed by Myron Hunt, the house features a spacious outdoor living room complete with a tile floor, while the back terrace provides views of the Jungle Garden, waterfall and Lily Ponds.

Huntington mansion outdoor living room

Huntington mansion terraceA short walk leads to the newly constructed Conservatory, which houses several garden rooms.

Huntington Gardens

Huntington Gardens ConservatoryEach room features a different tropical region, so the climate in each room is adjusted for the plants which grow in that region.

Huntington Gardens Conservatory orchidsThe main rotunda room features a collection of orchids, so it is understandably, quite humid! An undulating path leads visitors through a lush jungle down to a fish pond.

Huntington Gardens Conservatory

Huntington Gardens Conservatory Orchids

Huntington Gardens Conservatory OrchidsBlossoming fruit trees welcome visitors to the new Chinese Garden, and a stately stone bridge transports them across the lake to a lovely little tea shop.

Huntington Chinese Garden

Huntington Chinese GardenBack toward the mansion, we pass by a lovely French sculpture standing sentry at the edge of the Rose Garden. Alas, as it is winter, not many roses are in bloom, but there are a few bright spots of color here and there amongst the barren stems.

Huntington Rose Garden

Huntington Rose Garden

Huntington Rose GardenAdjacent to the Rose Garden and at the end of the arbor, is the Tea Room. Since it was my birthday on the day of my visit, I stopped in for afternoon tea. The Huntington offers a particularly delightful tea experience. The Tea Room enjoys views of both the Rose Garden and the Herb Garden.

Huntington Library and Gardens Tea RoomFeaturing a savory assortment of sandwiches, salads, fruit, pastries, and scones, there is something delicious for every preference. I indulged in a little bit of mostly everything-one, because it was my birthday, and two, because I wanted a good picture for this post!

Huntington Library and Gardens Tea RoomSince you all couldn’t be there in person, I unselfishly tried a bit of everything for you! Now, wasn’t that tasty, and don’t you feel full? Yes, I thought so…. Well after tea, I had just enough time to zip over to the gift shop, where I ran into this gorgeous little bed of snapdragons. Just lovely.

Huntington Library and GardensUnfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit all of the museums, which together house a stunning collection including an early manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and a Gutenberg Bible on vellum. A few of the garden areas were off-limits due to damage from the recent wind storm, and the Japanese Garden is undergoing refurbishment, so I missed those as well. As the Huntington is really at its finest in the spring, I hope to make another visit soon, and share some additional pictures of areas you didn’t get to see on this visit. Until then, I trust you will enjoy taking a turn in whichever garden you find yourself blessed to be in!

On the journey toward Home,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robin January 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Oh my goodness…what a wonderful place! I have never heard of it. Have tea for me when you go again in the Spring~ Love, Robin

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