The Huntington Botanical Gardens is one of those gems for us Los Angelenos that can transport you to another time or place. But what a lot of folks don't know is that it was once called San Marino Ranch. In November 2010, an new project was unveiled called The Huntington Ranch, harkening back to its farming origins. Part classroom, part demonstration garden and part research lab, The Ranch is pushing the boundaries of sustainable urban farming.
The Huntington Ranch isn't normally open to the public, but they have a roster of open houses, public programs and educational activities so you can get a peek inside. Of course, I chose the hottest day of the year to visit! Though, when you're out away from pavement and structures, you can truly appreciate how amazingly well an established shade tree can cool you down when the temperature is blistering.
The Ranch is there to share, not only innovative ideas on gardening, but is the home of the remaining orange trees from Mr. Huntington's day, a grove of heritage avocado trees planted by the California Avocado Society, and is the adopted home of dozens of fruit trees moved from a now closed urban garden, The South Central Farm. The trees were rescued by The Metabolic Studio and transported to The Ranch. The Ranch also maintains a blog to keep visitors updated on upcoming events.
I'm looking forward to future visits to see how the garden transforms throughout the seasons (and enjoy a tad less scorching sun). Stay tuned!
Further reading: The Huntington Ranch
(Images: Michelle Chin)