Encompassing about 120 acres, the botanical gardens feature 16 stunning themed gardens. In 1903 Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927) purchased the San Marino Ranch, a working ranch about 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles with citrus groves, nut and fruit orchards, alfalfa crops, a small herd of cows, and poultry. His superintendent, William Hertrich (1878–1966), was instrumental in developing the various plant collections that comprise the foundation of The Huntington’s botanical gardens. The property—originally nearly 600 acres—today covers 207 acres, 120 of which are open to visitors and include some 15,000 different varieties of plants.
‘Huntington’s 100th’ Rose
A special variety of rose, ‘Huntington’s 100th’, provides a quintessential touch to The Huntington’s Centennial. The pastel yellow and orchid pink floribunda was hybridized by Tom Carruth, The Huntington’s E. L. and Ruth B. Shannon Curator of the Rose Collections, and is on display in the historic Rose Garden, as well as in a dedicated garden just north of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. The hybrid’s abundant blooms emit an intense fragrance of lemon blossom with a hint of baby powder. If you missed the rose lecture and sale on Jan. 9, the next opportunity will be at the Spring Plant Sale, April 24-26. You can also find ‘Huntington’s 100th’ at local nurseries, sometimes under the synonym, Life of the Party; they are the same rose.
Collections, Research, and Programming
In addition to 120 acres of themed gardens, The Huntington has significant holdings of botanical living collections including orchids, camellias, cycads, and bonsai, examples of which may be found throughout the grounds. These core collections are being preserved, expanded, studied, and promoted for public appreciation, and support many areas of botanical research including conservation and cryopreservation. The collections also serve as the foundation of The Huntington’s educational programming, including botanical lectures, gardening workshops and demonstrations, and plant sales.
There’s always something blooming at The Huntington! Check out what’s in bloom now, then visit the blooming calendar to see what’s blooming the rest of the year.
The Huntington is home to 16 spectacular themed gardens spread across 120 acres.
Directly below and parallel to the Subtropical Garden, this five-acre open expanse of trees and shrubs offers a pleasant contrast to the paths and manicured lawns located on the hilltop.
Landscaped with California natives and dry-climate plants, covering 6.5 acres, the Frances and Sidney Brody California Garden reflects the local Mediterranean climate as well as the agricultural and elegant estate history of the 207-acre Huntington grounds.
Camellias are at the peak of their bloom in January and February, putting on a dazzling display in the North Vista, Japanese Garden, and the Garden of Flowing Fragrance.
The Children’s Garden introduces kids to the wonders of the natural world through interactive sculptural elements.
Liu Fang Yuan 流芳園, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance
The Chinese Garden features a stunning 1.5-acre lake, graceful pavilions, teahouse and tea shop, stone bridges and waterfalls set against a wooded backdrop of mature oaks and pines.
This 16,000 square-foot greenhouse features 50 interactive exhibits in four galleries and a rare opportunity to study plants from all over the world.
The Desert Garden
One of the largest outdoor collections of cacti and succulents in the world, the Desert Garden includes more than 5,000 species of desert plants in sixty landscaped beds.
The Herb Garden contains many unusual as well as common herbs, and is arranged according to the many ways herbs are used, such as medicines, teas, wines and liqueurs, cooking, cosmetics, perfumes and soaps, insect repellents, and dyes.
The Japanese Garden
One of the most beloved and iconic landscapes on the grounds, the historic Japanese Garden features a distinctive moon bridge, Japanese house, Zen garden, bonsai court, and a ceremonial teahouse and tea garden.
The Jungle Garden features a high forest canopy, an understory of trees and shrubs, climbing vines, and leaves of giant proportions. Plants commonly associated with the tropics grow here, including orchids, bromeliads, gingers, ferns, palms, bamboos, and many members of the calla lily family, such as philodendrons.
Water lilies, flowering lotus, papyrus, and five ponds, make up the tranquil, four-acre lily ponds, home to turtles, bullfrogs, Japanese koi, and an occasional mallard family.
More than 200 species of the most decorative and botanically interesting palms grace the hillside just south of the entrance and wrap around two sides of the Jungle Garden. The collection constitutes one of the broadest representations of palms on display in California.
Open Saturdays only from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., the Ranch Garden is part classroom and part research lab, connecting gardeners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape professionals, educators, and researchers, offering fresh ideas for sustainable gardening.
The Rose Garden
The three-acre Rose Garden contains more than 3,000 individual plants and more than 1,200 different cultivated varieties, with a spring bloom beginning in late March and extending beyond November.
Located between the Huntington Art Gallery and the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery and connecting to the Rose Garden, the Shakespeare Garden features a broad variety of plants; some cultivated in England during Shakespeare’s time, some mentioned in his plays and sonnets, plus many whose ancestors trace back to plants of his Renaissance writings.
Plants that can tolerate occasional mild frost grow in this four-acre hillside garden on the scarp of the Raymond Hill earthquake fault. The south-facing slope is one of the warmest areas of the gardens, providing a nurturing home for plants from areas of the world with mild climates.
Garden Sculptures & Fountains
In 1910, Henry E. Huntington began acquiring a large collection of outdoor sculptures, personally deciding on the exact location for each piece of garden statuary. Love is a common theme among the garden sculpture, most of which dates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries, although some are the works of 20th-century American artists.
Garden Sculptures & Fountains
Constructed of Colorado Yule marble, the mausoleum of Henry and Arabella Huntington overlooks the gardens from a knoll in the middle of the orange groves. Mr. Huntington selected John Russell Pope, one of America’s most distinguished architects, to design the mausoleum in the form of a Greek temple.