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The Huntington Desert Garden, San Marino
(5/5 based on 75+ reviews on the web)
The Huntington Desert Garden is part of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. The Desert Garden is one of the world's largest and oldest collections of cacti, succulents and other desert plants, collected from throughout the world. It contains plants from extreme environments, many of which were acquired by Henry E. Huntington and William Hertrich (the first garden curator) in trips taken to several countries in North, Central and South America. One of the Huntington’s most botanically important gardens, the Desert Garden brought together a group of plants largely unknown and unappreciated in the beginning of the 1900s. Containing a broad category of xerophytes (aridity-adapted plants), the Desert Garden grew to preeminence and remains today among the world’s finest, with more than 5,000 species in the 10 acre (4 ha) garden.Mr. Huntington was not initially interested in establishing a Desert Garden. He did not like cacti at all, due to some unfortunate prickly pear encounters during railroad construction work. But Hertrich was persistent, and, once won over, Mr. Huntington built a railway spur to his garden, to bring in rock, soil and plants by the carload. As Gary Lyons, a later curator, remarked, it's very convenient to have a rail spur, and deep pockets, when you're building a big garden. A trip to Arizona in 1908 filled three railroad cars for the trip back to the garden.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • So many varieties of palm trees, cactus, desert flowers and other succulents. Beautifully laid out. Every turn in the path revealed some new, unusual plants. Even in November, there were flowers to en...  more »
  • Walking through these well designed, yet seemingly unplanned graphs fo desert plants is a treat. There are more varieties than one could possibly imagine ( unless you are a botanist). The plants are b...  more »
  • This garden is remarkable on many levels. If you like formal, highly maintained gardens and lush lawns, the Huntington is beautiful. Its cactus garden is one of the finest although the abundance sugge...  more »