I am so excited to share with you all our day at the Huntington Gardens. In case you didn't know, I am OBSESSED with botanical gardens. They are among my favorite places to explore in any city and I finally made the trip to LA's Huntington Gardens with some girlfriends. I thought it would make for the perfect ladies day out activity and create a space to meet and hang out with some of the new women in our church community.
Huntington Gardens Quick Facts:
Hours: 10 am - 5 pm (Closed Tuesdays)
Admission: $25 ($29 on Weekends)
We all went up on a Saturday and met at the front gate (where the line for lattes and coffees was long but necessary in the somewhat chilly weather). I love that the entrance to the gardens is full of nice bistro tables which make prepping for the walk and meeting up with friends much easier. After we collected ourselves, we made our way towards the Palm and Jungle Gardens. The feeling of walking through these gardens was akin to being in a Dr. Suess book. There were such wild and eclectic trees, palms and bushes lining the winding walk ways.
We eventually found ourselves in the Desert Garden green house which was stuffed full of every cactus and dessert flower plant you could ever imagine. I was never one for cactus plants but seeing all the varieties and their vibrant blooms made me appreciate these spiked shrubs for their unique beauty. The also had hundred of types of succulents, I had no idea how diverse they are! It was amazing and oh so LA.
We took our time wondering through the endless isles. It was fun to listen in on everyone's thoughts or history with the various plants. I have not spent a lot of time in the South West but I definitely want to explore more of the area now that I have seen how beautiful the foliage can be in dessert landscapes.
After we had our fill of the desert, we cut through the Jungle Garden to see the bamboo forest. It was so quiet in this area of the grounds. I am learning more and more how wonderful it is to just be present somewhere and take in my surroundings. I was busy snapping photos and was a bit behind the rest of the gang for most of this walk. It gave me the opportunity to focus on the trees and the stillness instead of a conversation for a little while. I wasn't expecting that on a ladies day out but I definitely appreciated it. There is something so restful about walking alongside a bamboo forest, perhaps it's the scale of the trees and how they sort of overwhelm anyone below.
We soon found ourselves in the Japanese Garden. I have never been anywhere like it. A comprehensible multi-area landscape with mezzanines, temples and moats, the gardens were truly stunning to behold. We gazed at the bonsai trees for a while, admiring their impressive miniatures. I loved seeing the sweet little koi fish and bright fushia cherry blossoms.
As it neared 1 o'clock, we found ourselves growing peckish and made an impulse decision to stop for High Tea at the Rose Gardens. I love that you can sit down to a proper tea in the midst of exploring the gardens. It felt like the most appropriate snack to have as we wondered through lawn after lawn of flowers and ferns and waterfalls. I had never had a full tea before and was excited to share my first experience with some of my closest gal pals. It was also a perfect way for us all to get to know one another better since many of the ladies were new to our church at the time.
We ate our fill of tea and treats and slowly walked along the river to the Chinese Garden. The Chinese Garden was definitely my favorite spot in the entire park. It is home to a beautiful lake and half a dozen bridges blanketed by blossoms. It was a true oasis. My friend Katie and I wondered around the edge of the pond, swapping memories and gazing across the waters. It felt as if we were in a completely different world.
We all had the most wonderful time exploring this URBAN GEM just 30 minutes outside of central Los Angeles. I had no idea this natural wonderland was so close to home. I am definitely bookmarking Huntington Gardens for a return trip with Jeff. There is still so much that we didn't get a chance to explore and I cannot wait to go back very soon!
~ A ~