Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Found It! Huntington Gardens (Revisited, Part One)

On February 3, 2013, I found spring.

To be honest, what I was really looking for was something different.

I was hankering for my old friends from England and New Jersey:

the cool exhalations of narcissi, snowdrops, hyacinths, daffodils......

And if not necessarily them, then the stalwarts of the English winter: hellebores and bergenias.  And OK, yes, maybe some swathes of naturalizing crocus?

I went straight to where I thought they might be found, but instead, a fairly confusing scene presented itself.

The roses were still in their sharply pruned state and deeply bank with mulch.  (Though roses are blooming in my neighborhood.)  The camellias had mostly finished, their blooms curled and yellowing on the trees and ground.

There were stands of stocks, and delphiniums, the latter looking a little desultory (when they should have been jubilant and regal - but aren't they - summer flowers?)..........Some straggling iris from the late fall blooming season.  

And parterres of Icelandic poppies.  (But no primulas.  Sad face.)

You could not call it a cohesive display of blossom....or statement of someone who is accustomed to more definite ones.  And not remotely a profusion.  Which is what I sought.  (Very big on profusion, moi.)

I am a very spoiled person.  For two years I lived 10 minutes from Kew Gardens in West London.

And I was able to visit it in all seasons.  And always find there inspiration.....

in form.  Texture.  Color.  Harmony.  Drama.  Balance.

Wonder.  And Profusion.



At the Huntington, on February 3,  all these were to be found.  AND Spring.  In the DESERT GARDEN. 

Since I am in  Southern California, I guess I really should not have been surprised.


  1. Merci ! j'avais tant besoin de soleil !! ça réchauffe le coeur et l'esprit !

  2. Prickle, prickle - a different beauty to keep you on your toes!

  3. A magical place...otherworldly...almost like the plant life you find in tide pools. Nice to see similar plants together and thriving. Thank you for sharing it all with us MP!

  4. The round cacti in different colors and sizes remind me of the globes by Dale Chihuly placed in the beds and ponds in the Garfield Park Conservatory .. I know he did a similar, smaller installation at the Victoria & Albert .. did he ever do anything at Kew Gardens? At the Garfield Park Conservatory it was really spectacular.

  5. P.S. What are the purple flowers? Do you know? And the blue bladed plant?

  6. thank you everybody for leaving your nice comments. as for the plants elizabeth - the small purple flowers are verbena. i'm not sure exactly which blue bladed plants you mean, but likely the are either: agave, aloe, some kind of echeverria, and the creeping fleshy ground cover like blue-bladey fingers are, i think, ice plants which are actually native to mexico and not california.

    i did see the dale chihuly installation at kew back around '06. i did a post on it, but i might have already deleted it. it was v. cool! thx for stopping by! xoxo.

  7. CORRECTION: i still have the chihuly/kew post: here's the link:


  8. Oh, my! What a wonderful place! (It has been added to my ever increasing travel wishlist!). Glad you found some spring, even if it wasn't quite the spring you were looking for.

  9. Some very nice photos, and what cool plants. I like the photo especially above Solace, and I am curious about those Icelandic poppies! We maybe seeing them this coming year!

  10. wow! what a great place to hang out in. i´d love to see it in person... :)
    big hugs!!

  11. Looks amazing. Never seen anything like it, and would LOVE to be there right now. Freezing and grey here.

  12. Vraiment magnifique, il neige à Paris..merci pour cette belle balade au milieu des cactés

  13. wow, what a wonder garden. wish mine looked a little like this :)