Huntington Gardens? Oh yes! 12/30/16
Drip-drop, drizzle-drazzle, showers -- splish-splash I don’t want a bath, much less pouring rain, but today we had a bit of it all. Throw in a ray or two of sun for good measure, but that didn’t happen till afternoon. Everyone knows it doesn’t rain in California ... but man, it can when it wants to. We had to face it -- clouds and rain were the order for today. Jimmy and I have rain jackets and umbrellas; no problem.
Adventure Caravans had us up verrrry early this morning, so we could be the first coach to arrive at the “Float Barns.” At 6:15am the group had a make-it-yourself-sandwich project going on in the big tent ... that way we wouldn’t be making soggy sandwiches in the rain later. (I skipped the sandwich; I brought fresh fruit and a granola bar). Scheduled to leave at 6:30 am, our coach left past 7 (close enough, I guess), and, yup, ours was the first (of many) to arrive.
Keep your eyes on the two pictures above. I have a hunch this will be a fantastic float when it's finished and rolling down Colorado Blvd on Monday morning!
Unfortunately, we had no direction from those in charge at the float barns and our group wandered around the barn, so to speak, in the rain, to arrive back where we started. Eventually, we were directed to view a couple of floats-in-progress. As you can see in the above photos, without their flowers and not completely set-up, they didn’t look like much, not yet anyway, but I KNOW they’ll be gorgeous at The Parade. This outing was kind of a wash ....
The flowers are here, soon they'll be glued on.
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After eating those box lunches on the bus, we arrived at The Huntington in San Marino -- world-famous Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Again, two groups were formed, each with a basic docent-led tour. Truly an exceptional place to visit, the Library is a private nonprofit collections-based research and educational institution founded almost 100 years ago by Henry Huntington. This is one of those places that you wish you had at least a whole day to stroll and look. We could easily return once a week if we lived nearby.
With the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance, a beautiful rainbow greeted us near the Huntington entrance. Nice reward for enduring a rainy morning, eh? I was so captivated by the beauty of the gardens, that I plumb forgot to get any pictures of the buildings or galleries.
We barely touched the Library, covered one-tenth of the Art Collections, and spent the rest of our two free hours walking through the outstanding gardens.
More than a dozen principal gardens cover 120 acres of the 207-acre grounds, including The Garden of Flowing Fragrance (above), the Japanese Garden, Rose Gardens, Shakespeare Garden, and more. The Camellia Collection, recognized as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence, includes nearly 80 different camellia species and some 1,200 cultivated varieties, many of them rare and historic. We saw but a few; most will bloom later in the winter or spring.
Our docent told us that whoever placed his hand in the lion's mouth would have good luck for the upcoming year. Let us hope this is true, or at least a good omen!
What a guy!
This one needs no explanation or introduction!
This lovely Christmas tree with hundreds of hand-made origami ornaments stood in the foyer.
Love this, and it would look so fine in our house! 😄
The Desert Garden fascinated us so much that we nearly missed the bus. Jimmy and I tried to see as much as we could of the entire complex, and all we did was scratch the surface! Lots more to The Huntington than you can imagine.
What a BIG family, with lots of children!
Cephalocereus urbanianus -- strange contortions!
I believe these Golden Barrel cactus are my favorites.
A surprise to me was seeing the Red-whiskered Bulbul (above), a migrant who visits the gardens in January (actually a small flock -- they were two days early)! Never thought I'd see one, much less a slew of 'em.
Those are umbrellas Jimmy is carrying.
Cereus horribarbis (Brazil)
Our coach returned to the fairgrounds by 3 and at 5:30, our hosts provided a Mexican-themed dinner of Margaritas and hot dogs in tortillas. I'm hurrying this post (while at the KOA) because I need to return to the fairgrounds for a party! Possibly I'll add more tomorrow.