Thursday, November 5, 2015

Huntington Desert Garden Conservatory

After exploring the Huntington Desert Garden with its Old World and New World sections, I made a brief stop at the Desert Garden Conservatory. For some inexplicable reason, I didn’t take a photo of the entire structure, so this is all I can show you of the outside:

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It’s basically a large old-fashioned greenhouse.

As the sign below explains, it houses about 3,000 succulents and caudiciforms that need special protection, be it from the cold, from the rain, or from people.

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I was lucky to be visiting the Huntington on a Saturday (December 27. 2014) because the Desert Garden Conservatory is only open on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

To be perfectly honest, I was quite tired by the time I made it to the Conservatory. I’d left my house in Davis at 6 a.m. that morning, driven almost 7 hours (400 miles) to San Marino, and then walked around the Desert Garden for 3 hours. Plus I had another 2½ hours to go before reaching that night’s destination, Palm Springs. It ended up being a long day indeed.

That’s my long-winded way of apologizing for taking so few photos inside the Conservatory. I’ll make the Conservatory a focus on a future visit, possibly as soon as this December. In May, Gail over at A Growing Obsession reported she learned from docents “that the Desert Garden Conservatory is to be closed for renovations within the year, to be rebuilt on site as a two-story conservatory.” I wasn’t able to find any recent news on this project so I assume the Conservatory will still be open this December.

As you can see from the photos below, the specimens inside the Conservatory are impeccably cared for. Virtually every one, if staged and photographed on its own, would make a great “model” for a coffee-table book on succulents.

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Agave attenuata ‘Variegata’

141227_Huntington_0388_Pachypodium-horombense

Pachypodium horombense

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141227_Huntington_0391_Welwitschia-mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis

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Agave pumila

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Agave isthmensis ‘Shoji Raijin’

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Agave applanata ‘Cream Spike’

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Agave applanata ‘Cream Spike’

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Agave victoria-reginae

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Agave victoria-reginae

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Agave titanota ‘FO-76’ aka ‘Felipe Otero’

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Agave albopilosa, one of the most sought-after agaves. Being a fairly recent discovery, it’s still rare in cultivation. I predict it will become a huge hit once it gets tissue-cultured and introduced en masse. Check out this mature specimen—it’s a stunner!

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Agave albopilosa

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Agave albopilosa

141227_Huntington_0414_Mammillaria-magnifica

Mammillaria magnifica

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Mammillaria magnifica

141227_Huntington_0411_Mammillaria-spinosissima-pilcayensis

Mammillaria spinosissima ssp. pilcayensis

Check out this post on Piece of Eden from January 2015. It features a much wider variety of pictures taken in the Desert Garden Conservatory.

 

RELATED POSTS:

December 2014 Desert Trip index

10 comments:

  1. More beautiful photos! I've love to have that Agave attenuata - it looks rather like the variegated Furcraea. You may already know this but, in case not, Huntington offers plants by mail order from March-October. Hopefully, the conservatory's closure will have no impact on the 2016 offers. On a tip from Denise at AGO, I checked out the 2015 offers and ordered several plants. They're small but still well-priced by my estimation and they arrived in perfect condition. The 2015 and prior year catalogs can be found at: http://huntington.org/BotanicalDiv/ISI/catalogintro.html

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    1. I tried to order some plants a few years ago. The plants are exciting and well priced, but shipping to Northern California (same state!) would have been much so much that it didn't make sense. The reason: Because of state regulations, they need to treat plants shipped to counties north of Los Angeles with pesticide. At the time the extra fee for pesticide treatment was something like $15, now it's only $5--reasonable when ordering a larger quantity of plants.

      And get this: They're not able to ship to Napa or Sonoma counties at all! Probably because of the risk of introducing pests harmful to grapevines.

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  2. I've only managed to visit while the conservatory is open once. The people stuffed into that place was a little overwhelming, I shuffled along in a line looking at the specimens. Not a great memory.

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    1. Fortunately, that wasn't the case when I was there. I would have stayed longer if I hadn't been so tired.

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  3. Wow that was 1 heck of a long day. I admire your stamina. That you got such good photos as you did is amazing.

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    1. And I'm about to do it again. Plan on going to Phoenix and Tucson and then stopping at the Huntington and LA County Arboretum on Saturday, January 2. Want to meet up?

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  4. Ahhh, that titanota... I really need to visit. Wonder how long it will be closed for the reno.

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    1. Agave titanota would totally be OK outside. Not sure why they have it in the Conservatory. Ditto for Agave applanata 'Cream Spike'.

      Not sure what the status of the Conservatory is. Will try to find out.

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  5. A long day for sure but I'm glad to have experienced this great conservatory through your post so thanks for soldiering on!

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    1. I typically don't realize how tiring a day was until it's over :-).

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