Thursday, January 7, 2010

THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY AND GARDENS. THE CACTUS AND SUCCULENT GARDEN

As the garden visits stack up I wonder if I will ever have chance to post about all of them. On Monday our first day in California, we visited the Huntington Library and Museum, in Pasadena, and there was just so much to see. Nearly 200 hundred photos. I knew my favorite part of the garden would be the Cactus and Succulent Garden and it was. We took a tour with a docent and then later, after we had visited the other gardens and the art galleries, went back there to wander around by ourselves and take in all the wonder of the desert.

Henry Huntington never saw his cactus garden in all its glory. He died in 1927. Eighty three years later the cactus collection at the Huntington Museum and Gardens, in Pasadena, California, is considered to be one of the most important in the world for its age and size. I had seen photographs of the garden and it was on my list of gardens to see.
My opening photograph had to be of Aloe arborescens, which was in full bloom. Bees, heavy with brown pollen sacs and rufous hummingbirds flitting among the open flowers.

In 1902 Henry Huntington moved to Los Angeles, where he purchased the San Marino Ranch, transforming it into the current Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Between 1907 and 1908 William Hertrich was given the job of developing the cactus and succulent garden on a small area of the Raymond Fault scarp. Today the collection has grown to cover over 10 acres and it is truly spectacular. Many of the cactus were already mature when they were planted and today have attained a size larger than any found in the USA.

Hundreds of barrel cactus are massed together to create an amazing sight. the following are a few of the sights from the cactus and succulent garden.









I wonder if these agave with their glaucous leaves are A. ovatifolia? Although labeling of plants is very good I couldn't identify this one.



Mammillaria compressa

Dyksia forestiana x



17 comments:

  1. Beautiful! My favorite is the Aloe arborescens.

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  2. The Aloes in bloom look like a Chihuly display. What an outstanding collection. Such masses of plants that I have normally seen in tiny (comparatively) displays elsewhere.

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  3. Stunning! what an amazing garden.

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  4. I'm feeling a little ga-ga after your amazing pics. It's not a place you'd want to stroll around barefoot, but what an incredible, otherworldly display. You should submit that top pic of Aloe arborescens for the GGW photo contest. It may not be a traditional winter picture, but it illustrates the wonders of a warm-climate winter.

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  5. You go to such wonderful gardens. The blooming aloes are just beautiful. It's so interesting to see what plants can do, given enough room, in the right environment.
    Thanks for sharing, again.
    Oh, and yes. We are quite sad here about the game. Hope D had a good time, anyway.

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  6. What a truly amazing collection of cactus. The Aloe blooms are gorgeous.

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  7. I'm glad you all enjoyed the aloe as much as I did. I love looking at the photo myself.
    Pam- I did think of entering this photo in the competition but then had second thoughts. Maybe I'll think again.

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  8. Wow! What an amazing garden. Almost like being on another planet. This is one place where I wouldn't want to trip and fall! ;-)

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  9. How wonderful that you were at the Huntington at the perfect time! You also might enjoy my Gardening Gone Wild post on aloes in bloom: http://www.gardeninggonewild.com/?p=3868#more-3868

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  10. Ooh, I've always wanted to see the cactus and succulent collection there. These photos are spectactular. How cool to see hummingbirds with the aloe collection?! I look forward to you other CA garden posts!

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  11. Wow. What an amazing display of cool plants. I'm sure you were on overload walking through all of them. Sometimes it's hard to capture the enormity of what you're seeing in person, but I really got a sense of it in your photos where the cactus and succulents go on and on. Those Agaves are stunning! Thanks for taking us along on the trip!

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  12. Beautiful pictures! We were at the Huntington in October and missed the blooming aloes. Your barrel cactus pictures are so colorful, they look so perfect!

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  13. I was there about 15 years ago and I had forgotten how amazing it all was, until I saw your pictures. Thanks for the update and bringing back lots of good memories.

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  14. What an exquisite garden. Your photos are lovely too.~~Dee

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  15. i had no idea aloe could do that. amazing!
    irena

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  16. Gorgeous photos with so much texture, I can almost feel the pricks of spines. The aloe is amazing. I agree with others, it's a prize photo!

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  17. Hi RR.

    Never mind posting about all these great gardens you are visiting. YOU need to write a book and encompass them all from a personal perspective, with all this great photography. You really do.

    Those barrels, all those barrels...(trails off and falls asleep)
    zzzz...zzzz...mutters...can you have too many...zzz.

    ESP.

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