I'm on a quest to visit all the Los Angeles botanical gardens I can get my mitts on and finally crossed this oasis off my list over the weekend. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is a wonderful educational and research institution in San Marino, and the grounds are absolutely stunning. First things first - the Huntington Library is massive! Eddie and I didn't even see half of the stuff we wanted to, like the Japanese, Australian, and Rose gardens. We'll definitely have to go back and explore more on a second trip. The two gardens we explored this time around are the ones I most wanted to see - the Jungle Garden & Desert Garden.
Before exploring the gardens we of course had to check out the actual library - and while I didn't take any photos on my camera, it was a really fascinating place. There are two exhibitions being featured right now - Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times and Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World - I highly recommend popping in and walking through both, even if you're just visiting for the gardens. So much history and knowledge here! We also took a self guided tour through the Huntington Art Gallery, which was originally the home of Henry E. Huntington and his wife, Arabella. It's a stunning Beaux-Arts mansion and now displays major works of art. Take advantage of the iPods & headsets they give out for free at the entrance, and tour the gallery on your own time, plugging in the numbers of collections, works of art, or rooms you'd like to learn more about.
After exiting the Art gallery we made a beeline for the Jungle Garden. Let me tell you, I was livin my best Jungle Book life here!! Monsteras, orchids, bromeliads, ferns, palms, bamboos, and much, much more. I felt like I was in actual heaven. There's a fabulous waterfall that leads down to a pond, and the trails surrounding it are lush and tropical. It really felt like we were in a different country!
Next up was the Desert Garden. Which felt like a whole lil city in and of itself! Over 2,000 species of succulents and desert plants can be found here - wowza! Many of the plants are labeled with their name and country of origin, so you learn more about these amaze species while you stroll the grounds. We spent a long time here walking around and exploring, so many wonderful windy paths to get lost in. And some of the biggest Joshua Trees we've ever laid eyes on!
A lot of the cactus are in bloom right now and their flowers are just the most gorge colors.
Tip: if desert plants are your jam, be sure to visit on a Saturday when the Desert Garden Conservatory is open. A breathtaking greenhouse that's home to some 3,000 vulnerable succulents that might not survive if they were to get too much water or were exposed to freezing temperatures. A lot of them are also too small and fragile to compete with the stronger plants in the outdoor garden, and I love that they have their own little home to grow in.
After all that walking and exploring we were famished - the 1919 Cafe is named after the year Huntington was born, and it's got a fab selection of food to nom. There's even a bar with sushi and cocktails! The outdoor seating is lovely and overlooks the gardens, so def go outside and enjoy your food with a view.
And that was our first viz! Have you ever been? What's your fave part? Let me know in the comments!