120 Acres of Botanical Beauty

by Cynthia Brian

A visit to Pasadena is not complete without a full day exploring the expanses of the Huntington Library and Gardens founded in 1919 by visionary Henry Huntington. The art and manuscripts are valued at billions of dollars. The home in which he and his wife Arabella resided is elegant with views of the gardens from every room. But what inspired me most were the acres of gardens arranged in themes: Chinese, Japanese, Rose, Desert, Tropical, Sub Tropical, Australian, Herb, Palm, and even a charming children’s garden. Streams, ponds, and waterfalls offer a cooling pause on a warm day. A glass conservatory showcases rain forest specimens including numerous teaching displays. Of all the beautiful grounds, it was the desert garden that most amazed me. It is considered one of the largest and most important collections of cacti and succulents in the world with over 5000 species in 60 landscaped beds. The Rose Garden was my second favorite with its 1400 different roses, a sight and smell extravaganza. Two tea rooms dot the property. The Rose Garden Tea Room features a buffet style high tea with fresh scones, open-faced sandwiches, fruit, salads, desserts, and pots of unique black teas. The Chinese Tea Room offers tea on the terrace overlooking the koi pond serving a la carte Chinese fare. Plan on spending the entire day. No picnics or beverages other than water are allowed inside the park. http://www.huntington.org

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