Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exploring a New Site

The first week back to school was THE CRAZIEST week I’ve had in some time.  It was great to see my kiddos, and they hit the ground running upon our return.  However,  I had a meeting after school every day last week which really limited my prep and planning time in my classroom.  I felt like I was swimming up stream the entire week.  I came home from work Friday night and crashed.  I felt like going to bed and not waking until Sunday.  But I didn’t…

Some friends invited me to visit the The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena.  I’ve been to most of the art museums in Los Angeles, but never the Huntington. 

What a beautiful day for a Saturday outing!
stuff 003
The Huntington was the winter home of Henry Edward Huntington and his wife Arabella, both avid book and art collectors, beginning in the early 1900s.  In 1919, he signed over the property in and its contents to a non-profit trust creating the current establishment.

The 120 acres of land are beautifully landscaped into themed gardens.  The camellia garden was our first stop. 
 stuff 007 stuff 010 These camellia bushes are enormous and so pretty.

stuff 016

The Shakespeare Garden
stuff 017

stuff 020stuff 022

The Rose Garden is supposedly quite pretty in the spring and summer, but this time of year the rose bushes are cut back for the winter.  We walked through anyways, and this magnolia tree at the start of the garden rocked my world.  stuff 027 stuff 031
The Huntington is very well-known for its Japanese gardens, but they are closed right now due to renovation.  We did visit the Chinese gardens which were still very nice.
stuff 041
stuff 042
stuff 049
stuff 050
Our main reason for visiting was the Sam Maloof exhibit – The House That Sam Built is part of Pacific Standard Time, a collaborative project organized by the Getty.
stuff 064
Sam Maloof was an influential woodworker in the mid 1900s.  His work helped lead the way in the California modern arts movement.  stuff 065

A string chair!
stuff 069
stuff 073A double music stand and chair created for Jan Hlinka, an LA Philharmonic violist. 
stuff 077
A view of some of the grounds from the exhibit hall.
stuff 078

We spent at least another two hours wandering around the Huntington’s home and a few more of the gardens.  Since I was only armed with my iPhone, the battery died very quickly.  I had to stop taking pictures for the rest of the day.

I enjoyed my first visit to the Huntington.  It was a great day.  Although, we probably didn’t get to see half of it.  There is so much to do and see.  We’ll have to go back in the spring when the rose garden is in bloom, and I want to be sure to spend some time in the library which houses rare books, manuscripts, maps, and other British and American history and literature materials – I’m sure that will be a day’s visit all in itself. 


  1. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have gardens like that?

    I can't wait until you go back!

  2. @Hula - I know! I told Mike that it's proof that I am truly the biggest plant idiot in the whole world when this place can grow gardens from every continent, and I can barely grow grass! I need to get me one of those magnolia trees. I have a few neighbors with them, so I know they grow here, but could I keep one alive? That is the question.
    Your space is pretty nice, ya...I ohhhh-ed and awwww-ed. :)

  3. Well there you go !. I was on the google earth looking down on Pasadena yesterday. I was thinking about you in that way of wondering 'hmm, which quadrant of the city does she live'. While simultaneously thinking how odd a place is this without parks but with a surface area of water close to 20%, none of it natural. And no gardens to speak of.

    I've never been that fond of C20th furniture design. Pre 1930 it was all ships, after all aeroplanes. While the 60s and 70s gave the feel nirvana would have arrived if only sunglasses could have been incorporated somehow. Since, the only good stuff sits in IKEA

  4. I'll tell you that the camera on that phone is a bit of all-right. Lovely shots btw.

  5. Man, I wish my Winter looked like yours.
    And I am digging that furniture! Now I want to totally re-do my house. Start new!

  6. I think the Huntington, is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, not that I have seen them all, maybe in Southern CA. That gives me an idea of somewhere to go on one of our beautiful afternoons.

  7. My dream would be to have a walled secret garden... and someone else to maintain it. I used to have a moonlight garden and I would love to get another established in the future.

    I have planted a magnolia tree at another property. JUST DO IT!!!

    They are very easy, not like flowers or vegetables, you just plant them and make sure they are watered regularly for the first couple of years as it establishes (did I just lose you there?).

    I did notice that my magnolia tree took a little bit longer to get established than other types of trees, but once it did there is no stopping it! It grew faster than anything else!

  8. What a fun day! I have never been there either...but I might have to keep that in mind on my next trip down. We did the Tar Pits last trip..I hadn't been there since I was a little kid.

    My week wasn't my first week back but it was crazy! One full on tantrum- the worst since I taught pre-school....fortunately it was during our recess so I just let it go...and tried not to let the kid see me laughing!

    Happy Monday!

  9. @Vince - Oh, sadly, I don't live in Pasadena. I'm about 20 miles northwest of it in "The Valley". Ya, our natural bodies of water are few and far between, with the exception of the Pacific Ocean, of course, and then the LA and Santa Clara Rivers (which are often more like streams than rivers). Most of our natural lakes are found further north. What do you mean by parks/gardens? We have many city and county parks along with many protected areas that have good hiking trails. The iphone does a good job when it's a clear, sunny day. If the light isn't just right, they pictures are grainy. Luckily, this day had the bluest sky which helped! The Santa Ana winds we've been having are at least good for keeping the air clear.

    @Mark - I know, I know you guys are cold and we are not. Last week is was in the 80s. The frustrating part of it is that it's down in the 30s/40s at night/early in the morning so we dress warmly when leaving the house for the day. Then about 1PM that sun gets very hot, and we all roast in our winter clothes. Imagine all that decluttering you'd get to do if you started from scratch!

  10. @Banker Chick - It is a great place. I've always heard how beautiful it is, but just never made it there. I'm glad I did.

    Hula - Ohhhhhhh, I need to water them? :) I can probably do that, or rather the sprinklers can. They are so pretty. I like your idea of a secret and moonlight garden...I'll come visit yours.

    @Marey - I'm so glad that the 2nd graders are pretty much over the tantrum thing. When I walk by the 1st graders still having them I thank my lucky stars that I don't teach K/1! I'm afraid I'd just roll my eyes and say, "Are you freaking kidding me?" Which probably wouldn't help the situation. :)
    The tar pits are kind of fun, especially being right in the heart of the city. I took a class of 3rd graders there one year on a field trip a few years ago.

  11. And another thing!

    I was just looking at your photos again, and was thinking how wonderful it would be have gardens of the world and spend days in there pretending to be Auntie Mame.

    Then I looked into it further and they actually filmed scenes of the movie Mame (with Lucille Ball) there.

  12. @Hula - Yes, it's been in a few films. Most recently I think is The Muppets.

  13. Near Bob Hope.
    What I mean about the water is the swimming pools. And your spot isn't shy of them either.
    I don't know why, but I thought communal. Fiesta rather than house party when I thought SoCAL. But it's just one of those prejudice that one doesn't know one has.

    Bwahahaha, so Apple made a camera that'll only work properly in an arc centered on you, extending out about 150 miles. Yeah, I always though there was a powerful element of cult conspiracy about the whole thing.

  14. @Vince - yep, private pools are the norm, esp in the locations you were looking. We do have some community ones, but they are few and far between. It wouldn't be quite as much fun to have a party in a community space when you can show off your gigantic home!
    Before I was born, my mom's family had a couple of grocery stores in North Hollywood/Toluca Lake area. When my dad returned form the navy he went to work for them. He had great stories about delivering to the Toluca Lake elite including Bob Hope.
    The newest version of the iphone is supposed to have a better camera. I like my phone...for everything EXCEPT using it as an actual phone. That part leaves much to be desired.

  15. Ooooooh the botanical gardens look lovely... great weather too. We are expecting snow anyday.
    lovely blog post.

  16. @JennieLouise - it was a very pretty day, but I do wish we'd actually get winter for a little while. Snow? I love it! Of course, it's a novelty to us.

  17. I just noticed, there were a ton of movies/TV filmed at Huntington! Not even movies that one would think would be filmed there!

    I am pretty sure that the small scene, vignette really, from Mame, is when Mame and her new husband Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside are travelling the world for the honeymoon and They are in a Japanese garden walking over a bridge.

    Mame is wearing a kimono and umbreall.

    Promise me that you will return to the gardens when the Japanese gardens re-open, wearing a kimono and umbrella and get a photo graph of you in this outfit on the bridge!!!!!!!

  18. Today is ethical poorly, isn't it?