The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a research and educational center founded in 1919 by railroad and real estate magnate Henry E. Huntington. The renowned Huntington Library Collections houses among its treasures a Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1450–55); the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (ca. 1410); original letters of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln, as well as early editions of Shakespeare.
TripAdvisor recently ranked the Huntington Botanical Gardens as among the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. The Gardens began in 1903 when Henry Huntington purchased the San Marino Ranch. Huntington relied heavily on his superintendent, William Hertrich, to develop the plant collections.
Today there are about 120 landscaped acres and more than a dozen principal garden areas with more than 14,000 different varieties of plants open to visitors.
Featured gardens include: Desert, Japanese, Subtropical, Herb, Jungle, Palm and Rose Gardens, as well as one of the largest collections of camellias in the country.
The Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden has the themes earth, air, light, and water. Its interactive sculptural elements are sure to delight children, with based on, with a fog grotto, magnetic sand, pebble chimes, prism tunnel, and other attractions.
The Huntington’s Chinese Garden, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, or Liu Fang Yuan, eventually will be one of the largest classical Chinese gardens outside China. The words liu fang, or “flowing fragrance,” refers to the scent of flowers and trees, including the pine, lotus, plum, and other native Chinese plants found here.
According to the Huntington, “A Chinese garden can be compared to a scroll painting composed of carefully arranged scenes. . . As you stroll through its pathways and pavilions, new vistas are revealed as if a scroll were being slowly unrolled. In the garden, as in a painting, several key elements play an important part in creating balance and harmony in the composition.” In the garden, water symbolizes change and rocks, the eternal, combining to create harmony, balancing nature’s yin and yang. Plants may represent the seasons (peach blossoms for spring, pine for winter), while others stand for attributes such as purity (lotus) or uprightness (bamboo).
Located near Pasadena in the city of San Marino. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108
Closed Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day. [ info ]