The Huntington in San Marino, CA is one of California’s great estates. Established by businessman Henry Huntington in the early 1900s on what was originally a 600-acre ranch, the Huntington comprises a world-class library, art collections and 120 acres of gardens.
At the entrance to the Desert Garden: giant timber bamboo (Bambusa sp.), tree aloe (Aloidendron barberae) and blue foxtail agave (Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’)
The most famous of these is the 10-acre Desert Garden. It was started in 1907 when garden superintendent William Hertrich, a trained landscape gardener who had come to California from Germany in 1903, convinced Henry Huntington to plant cacti on a hillside that was very visible from the main drive but where little else would grow. As Hertrich recalls in his book The Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1905-1949: Personal Recollections of William Hertrich, “[Huntington] thoroughly disliked all types of cacti. His dislike was readily understandable … while backing away from some grading equipment [when supervising construction work for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the Arizona desert] he had had his first painful and never-to-be-forgotten introduction to the prickly cactus.”