desert garden

Botanical Gardens

Encompassing about 130 acres, the Botanical Gardens feature living collections in 16 stunning themed gardens with more than 83,000 living plants, including rare and endangered species, and a laboratory for botanical conservation and research.

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 make up the foundation of The Huntington’s Botanical Gardens. The property—originally nearly 600 acres—today covers 207 acres, 130 of which are open to visitors.

Japanese Heritage Shōya House

Experience a restored residential compound from 18th-century Japan providing a glimpse into rural Japanese life some 300 years ago.

 

Three people stand in a gravel courtyard, near a path leading to a traditional Japanese house.
Nicole Cavender, Director of the Huntington Botanical Gardens, on the Language of Flowers

“If you can believe it, we have over 83,000 living plants here. The Botanical Gardens serve as the entryway to The Huntington, connecting all three of the collections—the art collections, the library collections, and the plant collections.”

Botanical Living Collections

In addition to 130 acres of themed gardens, The Huntington has significant holdings of botanical living collections, including orchids, 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.

Learn More

A Corpse Flower inflorescence viewed at night from below and lit from behind.

More Than Meets the Eye: Plant Conservation at The Huntington

When Henry E. Huntington purchased his estate in 1903, plant conservation was not foremost in his plans, but his passion for rare and unusual plants created the foundation for botanical collections that are significant to conservation initiatives in the 21st century.

Avocados hanging from a tree.

To Hass and Hass Not: Avocados at The Huntington and Beyond

In 1905, Henry E. Huntington asked his superintendent of grounds, William Hertrich, if it was possible to grow an avocado orchard. Hertrich replied that he would be willing to make the experiment. More than a century later, the avocado experiment continues, linking communities and expanding our understanding of plant science.

A sign in a garden that says, “Meet Me in the Garden.”

Sensory Adventures in the Gardens

Every visit to The Huntington is as unique as the visitor. Each individual explores the gardens and the galleries through a personal lens, adding deeper meaning and relevance to the collections. With the aim of engaging a more diverse cross section of people, The Huntington created the Meet Me in the Garden program as a way of welcoming visitors with different sensory needs. The program is geared toward families with members who identify as disabled, but all guests can participate.

Botanical Conservation & Research

In addition to 130 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.

Exotic Plant Depository Aids in Research and Identification

The Huntington Botanical Gardens Herbarium (HNT) was founded in the 1960s by Myron Kimnach, director of the Botanical Gardens from 1962 to 1986. It is a depository of mostly exotic plant specimens used in research and teaching. These specimens serve as documentation for research projects and as resources for plant identification.