Huntington Botanical Gardens
San Marino, California
March 2008

A trip to the Huntington is almost a pilgrimage for many plant people.

Huntington entrance

I’ve visited numerous times and am always awed by the beauty and diversity of the plants on display. Planting of the 120 acre garden began in 1903 and the garden is now home to about 15,000 kinds of plants, many of which are mature and spectacular.

One of the oldest gardens is the Palm Garden, started in 1905. It now features about 200 species of palm.

Palm Garden

The Japanese Garden was established in 1912. There is a beautiful bonsai area with numerous specimens, some of which must be ancient.


It would be nice if the signage gave some indication of how old a specimen is. That would add a real “wow” factor. But maybe that would somehow destroy the tranquility of the area. A beautiful arching moon bridge crosses a quiet pool.

Moon Bridge

Just beyond the Japanese Garden is the Chinese Garden. This garden opened in February 2008 and only about 4 acres of the proposed 12 have been developed, but it is already worth seeing. The name of every feature is magical and evocative. In the center is “The Lake of Reflected Fragrance”. There are several islands connected by bridges.

Cginese Garden Bridge

There are numerous structures scattered through the Chinese Garden. This 'Pavilion of the Three Friends' is my favorite.

There are more than a dozen gardens, too many to see in one visit. There's the Herb Garden, the Jungle Garden, the Rose Garden and more. One area not to be missed is the Desert Garden, filled with mature specimens of plants from the deserts of the world. Even if you think you don't like cactus and their kin, I think it is impossible not to be awestruck by this garden.

Desrt Garden Cactus Garden

Click here to see more photos of the Huntington.

To visit the official website of the Huntington Botanical Garden, click

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