Saturday, April 18, 2015



Hmmm...get the ladder...



Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Huntington Entrance Garden

The Huntington recently opened their new entrance buildings and garden after more than a year of construction.  It seems well laid out and more spacious.  There is more seating area for resting or gathering before and after visits, and a new cafe and coffee bar.  

The old entrance building had an auditorium; there's now a new one with a conservatory-roofed area adjacent.  All the new plantings are climate-appropriate, I guess you could say--an expanse of lawn replaced by bunch grasses; Buxus and Euonymous by Myrtus, Jacaranda by Oak and Acacia. 
That Aloe certainly deserves to be a focal point:
 Although there are more buildings now, the views are more open;  at the end of the entrance complex is a rill with axial view of one of the beautiful old Aloe barberae specimens.  Looking back at the base of the rill is a view of the San Gabriel mountains that loom over this part of the Los Angeles basin. 
 There is now more direct access to the Desert Garden, and there are two other points of entry to the gardens, one towards the Conservatory.  The area plantings here are not yet completed.
The other point of entry, towards the Library building, the Huntington mansion, and the Shakespeare Garden, on the extreme left.  Clumping grasses replaced what was a lawn:
There is an area for dropping off/picking up handicapped visitors--at least that is what I think it is, beyond this gap between buildings:
 Nice visual zig-zag created by the walkways there.
 The former Huntington entrance greeted visitors with Jacaranda trees, turf lawns, and roses, the new, like the arrival of a new century of water constraints--everything is xeric, some is native to California.

 Common Myrtle makes a better clipped hedge for Southern California than Boxwood.  It remains a deeper green in summer heat and requires little water.  It's there at the bottom of the photo:

 Chondropetalum elephantium, I think:
With everything so new, a few things need adjustment--it appeared that only after the fact did the Huntington realize that people would try and walk across the rill.  It looked like someone hurridly ran out to a dollar store for some little wire fences.
It won't be the first miscalculation a landscape architect has ever made about where people are going to walk, is it?  Guys, take the whole price tag off, please.
 Things happen. 

 The pathway down to the Desert Garden, formerly a stairway, is now a gently sloping path flanked by an array of Agaves.  
A little hurried on the install?  
 Biggest 'Snow Glow' I've ever seen, near bloom-size:
 Biggest Agave pumila I've ever seen--had to be at least 20" in diameter:
 Agave 'Sawtooth':
 This area adjacent to the new auditorium/lecture hall is covered by a transparent conservatory roof and ringed with tropical plants.

 The roof cast interesting shadows.

 It's a new era.  Everything is changing, not just the Huntington.
 It's not just our current drought.  The pressures of an exploding human population and climate change are becoming apparent in regions where resources like water are scarce.  In Syria and Yemen, water scarcity and population growth have contributed to civil war. 
 Here, so far, the change amounts to planting different stuff. We're fortunate--so far. 
 The past, the future:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Huntington Rose Garden 2015 Spring Flush

Even better than last year, I think, and last year was marvelous.
'Sally Holmes' on the pergola:

The stupendous mass planting of 'Iceberg' and 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' there on the right:

Was it three years ago that 'Renae' was planted on the central dome?  I remember the tiny plants.  It's developing well and in, say, three years, may be spectacular.
The 'Iceberg's again.  It was a perfect April morning.
'Altissimo' on the Tea House wall.  'Lavaglut' is the row of red in the foreground.

'Iceberg' there on the farthest arch, with 'Fourth of July' in front of it. 

'Cinco de Mayo'

'Love Song'.  What a beauty.

'Alister Stella Grey' is the pale yellow/ivory on the pergola.  Most of the faux-bois pergola restoration is now complete, and the roses are coming back and looking the best I've ever seen them.
'Iceberg's performance--no wonder it is ubiquitous in Southern California.

Enjoying roses and birdsong with Beloved on an April morning.  Is there anything better?