cactus garden at The Huntington, Los Angeles

California Diary | The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

all-white outfit with gold shoes and belt

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles, California

Chinese Harden at the Huntington, Los Angeles

At the Huntington, Los Angeles, California

bird eating noodles

cactus garden at the Huntington, Los Angeles

cactus garden at the Huntington, Los Angeles

cactus garden at the Huntington, LA

The Huntington, Los Angeles

cactus garden at the Huntington, Los Angeles

The Huntington Library is just a short walk from the house we’re renting in San Marino, and is as famous for its beautiful gardens as it is for the library and research institute itself, so early one morning, Terry and I headed over there on foot… and it was closed. D’oh! We seem to be making a habit of this – plan in advance, kids!

As I said, it’s just a short walk, so it was no biggie to turn back – or it wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for the fact that we managed to get lost in the maze of streets surrounding the place, and did I mention it was over 100 degrees most days last week? It was over 100 degrees. We managed to find our way back eventually, though, and we also saw a coyote running across the street right in front of us, which I briefly thought I might have hallucinated due to the heat, but no, it was a real coyote, so that was pretty cool. (And also pretty HOT: seriously, why do we do it to ourselves?!)

Anyway, we had another go at visiting The Huntington a few days later, and this time it was open, so that was a good start. The first surprise (for me) was the $25 admission charge: most libraries and botanic gardens back home are free to visit, so I was all, “$25? That’s, like, a lipstick in Sephora!” Because I always have my priorities straight, people, yes I do. What I wasn’t realising, though, is that The Huntington isn’t really comparable to the Botanic Gardens we have back home (Sorry, Glasgow and Edinburgh…); for one thing, it’s so huge there were moments where I seriously thought we’d never find our way out, and would just be wandering around there forever, but for another, it’s just absolutely stunning. And yes, totally worth the $25, trust me on this.

The gardens, as I said, go on forever, and are themed around different countries, so you get to see plants and design from all over the world. I couldn’t pick a favourite between the Chinese and Japanese gardens, but I also loved the Shakespeare garden, which contains more roses than you could count, and about a millionty-one photo ops. (If you think I used too many in this post, you should see the state of my memory card right now, seriously…)

For once we departed from our un-cultured ways, and actually DID go into the library itself, where you can see some of the collection of rare books and manuscripts. Security is pretty tight because of the value of some of the exhibits: upon entry to the garden, you’re given a large, bright blue sticker which you’re instructed to wear on your clothes (The woman on security took one look at me, and, without me saying a word, said, “Yeah, this REALLY isn’t going to work with your outfit: maybe just carry it instead?” Thanks, kind security lady…), and some of the buildings also have lockers for you to leave your bags etc. We obviously didn’t take photos inside, but I reckon you’ve probably seen enough by now anyway, no?

(P.S. Thanks to my mum for letting me steal some of her photos!)

The Japanese Garden at The Huntington, Los Angeles

WEARING: New Look skirt, H&M tank; Michael Kors ‘Keegan’ wedges*; mystery brand hat; Gucci sunglasses

books by Amber Eve
  • Alexandra


    Ahhh! Awesome that you’re staying in San Marino and got to check out the Huntington! Your CA diaries are giving me serious nostalgia. Since you’re in the area, and if you haven’t already, check out the nearby Caltech campus too- it has some beautiful architecture, and landscaping (with turtle and crayfish ponds because why not?), plus you will tread the same ground as Einstein! And while I’m doling out unsolicited advice (sorry, really can’t help myself here) 1886 at the Raymond has some fantastic vintage style cocktails in a pretty refurbished Craftsman bungalow, a great happy hour, and is also very nearby! Thanks for showcasing parts of LA that are not the west side 🙂

    September 18, 2015
  • Oh my goodness, what an amazing place. And your photographs are lovely. I wish I’d visited there last year. An excuse to go back!

    September 18, 2015
  • I’m so jealous of you right now! That garden seem so amazing. I want to live in it with my camera forever and ever and never leave. For real. If I could just live there with all the amazing succulents I would never ask for anything alse again. Not even a new dress I swear. Oh and I want to se all the roses to.
    Thank you for posting this and letting us se some of all the beauty. And you look really good to in all the white./ love Ida

    September 18, 2015
  • Myra


    Dream holiday excursions, I am so jealous. And another fab outfit

    September 18, 2015
  • I was in California a few years ago and my friend I was visiting said ‘lets go to Huntington Library’ and I was like ….a library?! But it was SO beautiful! I wish I’d had a good camera/been into photography back then.

    September 18, 2015
  • Helen Love


    Your photographs and blog of your trip are really making we want to go there…. these gardens are out of this world. And, I love seeing what you are wearing on any given day. Terry has such a great eye for detail and captures the moments beautifully. It would be great if you could post some photos of the library! Looking forward to catching up with your Mum when you all get back. x

    September 18, 2015
  • It looks absolutely beautiful there. I love visiting botanical gardens in the different places we visit… there’s always a really special ambience in them, don’t you think?
    I love your outfit too… perfect for the heat.
    Suzy x

    September 18, 2015
  • Klemmy


    Love the dress and belt combination!

    And why do you use fahrenheit?

    September 19, 2015