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The Huntington Desert Garden, San Marino

(5/5 based on 85+ 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
  • We thoroughly recommend the gardens at the Huntington Library. If you take a volunteer tour this is a good introduction to the different regions and an opportunity to get a taster before then explorin...  more »
  • This was one of our main destinations, and well worth the hike. If you've ever considered succulents and cactus as not being worthy of gardens, this will definitely prove you wrong. We fell in love wi...  more »
  • Garden was good, but our time was so limited didn't get to enjoy it fully. What we did see was unusual, they have spaces that are changing from lawns to more prarie grasses - interesting.  more »