The Huntington has redesigned and retrofitted old irrigation systems to reduce waste, and we continue to invest in more efficient watering systems, including high-efficiency sprinklers, weather-based irrigation controls, and drip irrigation. Through a combination of actions, we have reduced water use in the gardens by 13%—the equivalent of 31 acre feet—even while adding more than 15 acres of new public gardens, most notably the Chinese Garden. Additional water-saving strategies, such as mulching around plant beds and watering more deeply but less often, have allowed us to reduce water use dramatically in many areas, including the Rose Garden.
Most of the irrigation water used on the property comes from wells that tap into the Raymond Basin aquifer. In conjunction with the other Raymond Basin groundwater users, The Huntington has reduced its groundwater rights by 30% in an effort to help raise groundwater levels.
Highlighting Drought-Tolerant Plants
The use of drought-tolerant plants for landscaping around all new installations is a top priority. The Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center, for example, features 6.5 acres of California natives and dry-climate plants replacing the lawn that surrounded the old entrance complex.
Of the 207 acres at The Huntington, about 11 acres historically have been covered with lawn. We have reduced that number over the past five years by one-third to about 7 acres today. We eliminated most of the lawn in the entrance area, and we are continuing this transition by eliminating lawns that are not used for public activities and access. However, lawns play an important role in any botanical garden or historic estate, so we are focusing on maintaining grassy areas that are of use for collections and for visitors. Lawns provide our visitors with a special experience, particularly for those who live in apartments or in dense urban areas where the opportunity to see, feel, and experience a lawn may be limited.
Partnering with the Community
The Huntington partners with a number of civic and nonprofit entities to share information, resources, and water management expertise. For example, The Huntington and Pasadena Heritage co-hosted a meeting that addressed a number of local concerns, including protecting the health of trees during the drought.
Educating the Public
Through classes, workshops, lectures, school programs, and tours, The Huntington shares the expertise of knowledgeable individuals about how to garden sustainably during droughts and beyond.
If you have questions or comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-405-3505.