by Marisa Marcantonio

While I was in California, I visited a wonderful friend in Old Town Pasadena. It was a beautiful Saturday, so we decided to spend it outside at one of the most stunning places-- The Huntington Botanical Gardens. I was awe struck at the beauty of the lush gardens and most especially, the rose garden, with endless varieties in full bloom as far as the eye could see. Taking over 207 acres, there are 12 gardens filled with over 12,000 plant varieties. Here is a visual diary of our visit. 

Alexander Calder's massive sculpture, Jerusalem Stabile, 1976, greets visitors as they enter the garden. It is on loan from the Calder Foundation and was added last spring.

We started in the Chinese garden, filled with amazing rocks and composed features

We got to see some rather large Koi

Then we headed over to the Japanese gardens

Even the stairways are flowering

I love a good allee

This one was of my favorite moments--

Another great allee

The Rose Garden is on three acres and has  1,200 different cultivated varieties. I could not get over it.

The herb garden was erected in the 1970's and is filled with practical, medical and culinary herbs that flourish in the California climate.

The other garden that had me in total amazement was the desert garden. It is almost 100 years old and has one of the best succulent collections in the world. I loved the giant aloe and agave plants, and incredible cactus assortment.

The cactus gardens looked like lunar landscapes

What a day! It was just beautiful and so inspiring. Make it to The Huntington if you can, it is well worth it.