Most guests who visit the botanical gardens at The Huntington appreciate their beauty, but there is much more to them than meets the eye. Our living plant collection is both regionally and globally diverse. Thousands of the species in our care are not found in any other botanical garden. Rare and biologically valuable plants—particularly members of the orchid and cacti families—yield scientific insights, engage our visitors, and provide opportunities to share plants and expertise with other botanical gardens. We support strong conservation horticulture with a staff that includes experts in taxonomy, seed collection, research, and propagation techniques. Together with other botanical gardens, we also help maintain populations of plants that are particularly threatened in their natural habitats, so if they become extinct in the wild, they will not be lost entirely. In addition, The Huntington hosts the U.S. office of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), which connects us to the largest network of botanical gardens and plant conservation experts in the world.
At the end of September, Huntington Plant Collections and Conservation Manager Sean Lahmeyer and I took part in the 7th Global Botanic Gardens Congress, hosted by BGCI at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Some 500 representatives from 36 countries attended, and the experience made me feel energized and inspired.