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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (Liu Fang Yuan (Garden of Flowing Fragrance) Chinese Garden) (Spring) - San Marino

Rather than write yet another post on Chinese food for the end of the Beijing Olympics, I thought I'd offer up something else about Chinese culture. According to Wikipedia, there are 17 aspects to a Chinese garden, including architecture, walls, water, small individual sections, and use of feng shui in choosing the site.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino

Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, opened 3.5 acres of the Chinese garden in February. Artisans from China had been working on the garden for more than six months. It's the first classical Chinese garden in California, and when completed, at 12 acres, will be the largest in the country.

(Although, my Oregonian side feels compelled to point out that the Portland Classical Chinese Garden opened eight years ago. At the time, it was the largest in the country at 40,000 square feet. The Portland Chinese garden encompasses a whole city block with a more intimate feel as it's completely walled. Better tea house too.)

That morning, HH and I went to Tasty - San Gabriel for knife-shaved noodles. I mentioned the Chinese garden when he asked what there was to do nearby. Part of the reason why I enjoy hanging out with HH is that he likes the same things that I like. I don't know too many people who would be willing to spend the day wandering around gardens or museums, much less genuinely enjoy doing it. So that's what we did for several days after HH came back from the east coast, and before he had to fly out again.

The main entrance to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Enter and we're gonna head to the right.
Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 1

I just liked the looks of this path.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 2

"How pretty is this!" said HH when he saw the expanse of green lawn.

I laughed.

We're not even near the Chinese garden yet, I said. Trust me, it gets much better, I told him.

He said he already felt like he got his money's worth and was perfectly content to take pictures of big trees, green grass, and random statuary. If only all my houseguests were so easy to please.

Lots of other photographers out that day too.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 3

A fairy ring.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 4

Located near a bridge that I could totally imagine was occupied by fairies or pixies, or even a grumpy troll. The archway to the left goes to the Rose Garden, which I'll get to in another post. We're continuing on the right path for now.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 5

Walked through the center of this building.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 6

Stopped in for a quick visit to the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 7

I love the arching panes of glass.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 8

But that made it way too humid inside to linger for long.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 9

So we left and wandered down to the east entrance of the Chinese garden.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 10

The mama lion with her cub on the left. HH taught me that.

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And the daddy lion on the right with no cub.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 12

Our first glimpse of the central part of the Chinese garden.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 13

Tell me this picture doesn't look like a postcard? Don't you want to just sit on that bench and just gaze at the view? So that's what we did.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 14

The undulating walls with "leak" windows, so-called because they "leak" through the outside.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 15

Chinese pointy green roof tops. Remember what I said about the difference between Chinese and Vietnamese roofs?

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 16

If big trees and grass made HH picture happy, he was definitely going crazy over this. Only, we both forgot to charge up our camera batteries so we couldn't go nearly as picture happy as we wanted. I'll let the rest of the pictures speak for themselves.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 17

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 18

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 19

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 20

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 21

Moon gates.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 22

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 23

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 24

Bonsai garden.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 25

"Leak" window.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 26

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 27

Another moon gate. There's a small cafe selling tea and drinks just to the left as you enter.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 28

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 29

One last glimpse.

Huntington (Chinese Garden) - San Marino 30

We wended our way to the Japanese Garden, followed by the Rose Garden.

Other garden pictures may be found in Gardening Updates and other things to do in Explore SoCal.

Who else visited The Huntington Chinese Garden?
Nikki Polani took much better photos with a much nicer camera so visit her to see the Chinese Garden on a bright sunny day in April.

The Huntington: Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd.
San Marino, CA 91108
Monday, and Wednesday to Friday noon to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays

Children under 5, free
Youths aged 5 to 11, $6
Students with ID, $10
Seniors, $12/weekday and $15 weekends
Adults, $15/weekdays and $20/weekends

Free Day:
First Thursday of each month. Reservations must be made one month in advance. Reserve online or call 1-800-838-3006 and choose an arrival time of 10:30 a.m. to noon or 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. No admission without a ticket. No regular admission tickets are sold on Free Day.

1 year ago today, Korean twice-fried chicken at Kyochon Chicken - Los Angeles (Koreatown).


  1. Beautiful!!! I hope I can get to visit this garden.

  2. Hey WC - This was one of our favorite places when we lived in LA. In fact we used to be members. I once took my step-mom, a nice Southern Lady to High Tea, and She kept talking about the place for years....

  3. I enjoyed looking at the garden through your eyes - it was probably in the low 100s the day I went and just too hot to do much exploring.

  4. Your pictures reminded me of the Portland Chinese garden. It's one of my favorites. I even use a picture of that garden as my windows desktop. Someday I'd like to see the one at Huntington. I visited the rose garden there many years ago, it is lovely.

  5. Ning,
    You should put it on your list if you ever visit your sister!

    I want to do afternoon tea here too, but it costs $25! Plus the cost of admission. Too expensive. :(

    It was slightly overcast the day I went. Just perfect actually to wander around. It's always interesting to see other people's perspectives of the same place. I always think my angles are better. ;)

    I actually like the Portland Classical Chinese Garden more. Not just because it's my hometown but because there's a lovely feeling of intimacy to all the spaces.

  6. Ahhh....Chinese garden! So peaceful and tranquil looking isn't it? I can imagine myself playing guzheng here.

  7. Ivy,
    It is. We were quite happy to wander around aimlessly. I had to Google guzheng. It's a zither! Yes, I can imagine you playing on here. :)


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