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February 24, 2014 - Today we returned to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA because our dear friend, Maxine Steele of Bainbridge Island, WA, wanted to see the botanical gardens in person.  Max is staying with us for a few days before she heads south to San Diego.  We started out at the Library, which houses about six million items.

Among the treasures for research and exhibition are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, and a world-class collection of the early editions of Shakespeare’s works.

At nearly 100 years old, the Huntington Desert Garden is one of the largest and oldest assemblages of cacti and other succulents in the world.  The desert garden features more than 5,000 species of succulents and desert plants in sixty landscaped beds.

The lily ponds was the first garden established in 1904 by William Hertrich from natural springs that emerged from rocks on the Raymond Hill Fault.  The pond water, which is circulated and recycled, is home to turtles, bullfrogs, Japanese koi, aquatic plants, and an occasional mallard family.

Completed in 1912, the historic Japanese Garden is one of the most beloved and iconic landscapes at The Huntington.  The nine-acre site has picture-postcard views of koi-filled ponds, its distinctive moon bridge, and the historic Japanese House.

Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, is the largest Chinese garden outside China. Designed to create, preserve, and promote the rich and complex traditions of Chinese culture, this authentic garden is a special place for visitors to feel inspired by the elegant harmony of nature and poetry.

Here's Max in front of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American ArtThe Huntington’s American art collection includes works from the 1690s to the 1950s, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Tiffany.

Our last stop of the day was at the Huntington Art Gallery, which was once the house of Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927) and his second wife, Arabella (1850–1924).  The Gallery opened in 1928 displaying one of the greatest collections of 18th-century British art in the country, including the celebrated Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough and Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence.

Today the weather was perfect to enjoy this wonderful place.  By the end of the day, we were a little worn out from walking through the 120 acres of gardens within the 207 acre grounds encompassing the gardens, the library and the galleries.  But, at least we weren't hungry, since we all had big breakfasts at Norm's earlier in the day.

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