A Morning at The Huntington

I have long been told I should visit the Huntington. It usually comes up when I mention how much I love the Arboretum. This time, I took advantage of a class assignment to visit a museum, grabbed the hubby, and we set out for a leisurely morning. The Huntington is a huge piece of land just outside of the borders of Pasadena, and is home to beautifully maintained botanical gardens, an intriguing book collection in their library, and well rounded art and furniture collections in their art galleries. Because it is such a huge, beautiful place, and because it’s so easy to take tons of beautiful photos there, I’ll just share my favorite spots with you. If you live in or are visiting the LA area, this place is definitely worth a visit. We only spent about 3 hours there, but we easily could have brought a picnic and a book and spent the entire day lounging on their grounds an perusing their galleries.

First, we paid a visit to their Conservatory for Botanical Science, and it was quite a treat. The inside is split into different climates of course, but unlike some of the others I’ve been to, this one had classrooms and information stations throughout where you could learn about different plants and their environments.

DSCN3369 DSCN3328 DSCN3316 DSCN3318 DSCN3320 This pitcher plant is much like ones we saw when we were in Costa Rica a couple years ago. They lure flies and other insects into the pitcher, where they hold a digestive liquid that, well, digests them. DSCN3321Because the conservatory is so geared toward education, and surely there are lots of field trips for kids there, just outside they had created this adorable Children’s Garden. We didn’t stay long out of fear of stepping on a small child (they were running around all over the place, care free!) but I loved the entrance to it. This door reminds me of some doorway Alice might have come across while chasing the White Rabbit.
DSCN3323Child-sized furniture inside this little garden hut made the perfect shady spot for a mid-play snack.
DSCN3326 DSCN3325 I love a good art gallery, and the Scott Galleries on the grounds held a small but fantastic collection of all kinds of art for all eras. The architecture came across quite modern, with plenty of opportunity for natural daylight to spill in through the windows out front as well as through huge skylights installed in every gallery.DSCN3329

DSCN3342The galleries really attempted to harken to the eras in which most of the art was created, all this by way of paint color choices.
DSCN3331 DSCN3350 My favorite gallery was the contemporary art gallery (although that came as no surprise to my husband, since I’m always amazed at the skill and vision that goes into abstract and contemporary art.) I was pleased to come across a couple of recognizable Andy Warhol pieces.DSCN3333 Also, I had never seen this Robert Rauschenberg painting before. I’ve long been a fan of his. (Give me a Rauschenberg, Johns, or Rothko, and I’ll be occupied for hours.) DSCN3334 And then just around the corner, we came across this room, the center dominated by beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright furniture.DSCN3349 Not to mention the surrounding pieces, like this Tiffany lamp….DSCN3347 …and this Stickley side table. When I think of Stickley furniture, I think of bulky, chunky, mission style wood and leather chairs. But this table was so delicate, almost a little Art Nouveau.DSCN3346 In yet another room, I found on display this Charles Honore Lannuier card table, which I’m pretty sure I used in a project once, designing a spec room in the American Classical Revival style.DSCN3358And I just thought this chair was interesting, designed by Samuel Gregg.
DSCN3363 They also have an entire gallery devoted to Greene & Greene, designers from the Arts & Crafts movement, but there were no photos allowed inside. I’m disappointed I can’t share it with you here, but hopefully that gives you another reason to visit the Huntington yourself. In the meantime, here’s a link to the Gamble House in Pasadena, designed by the Greene brothers. I’ve been there 3 times, and it never gets old.DSCN3365 After walking through their daylit sculpture gallery, we walked around the side of the building, through these ionic columns…DSCN3370… and past this gorgeous, inviting green field…
DSCN3375 DSCN3376 …into the Huntington’s rose garden. It was beautiful! They have created a number of different paths and series of trellises to walk through and smell the roses.DSCN3381 DSCN3382 DSCN3383 DSCN3390 I thought these were an interesting idea to file away: concrete formed to look like trees, bark and all. Great for vines to grow on.DSCN3393 DSCN3391 DSCN3396 I think one of the biggest surprises we came across was how elaborate and perfectly manicured their Japanese Garden is! It felt almost otherworldly being there, and so peaceful.DSCN3398 DSCN3400 DSCN3404 And just up the way, there was also a Chinese Garden.DSCN3407

The courtyard that welcomed us in boasted beautiful stonework.DSCN3412 DSCN3411 All of the structures in this garden surrounded a large pond, and there were plenty of spots all around where you could sit, rest, and watch the fish.DSCN3410 DSCN3415 DSCN3418 DSCN3421 I had to stop to look at these bonsai trees. (Yes, bonsai is a Japanese art form, but it originated in China, where it was called penjing… ‘learn something new every day.)DSCN3424 DSCN3425 After wondering around the grounds some more, we ended our meandering in the library exhibits, where they seemed to be focusing on sciences of all kinds. There were some incredible, and very old illustrations throughout, and we had a lot of fun looking over them.DSCN3442 DSCN3443 DSCN3445 DSCN3446 And in a little nod to my Lighting Design class, I couldn’t resist snapping a couple photos of these awesome old light bulbs.DSCN3447 DSCN3448 DSCN3449

Would you be most excited about the gardens, the art galleries, or the library?

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This Week I Loved…

Reliving our visit to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.Istanbul611 A new bedside reading nook for my husband. (PS. This is an awesome, low budget, small space solution for a bedside table!)booknook Dinner and drinks with the girls at The York on York in Highland Park.york A delicious blueberry pie and dinner with friends.pie A visit with my ASID chapter to the Sirtaj boutique hotel in Beverly Hills.sirtajThe chandelier tree in Silverlake. (Yes, literally a tree full of chandeliers!)
chandelier tree This monster zucchini from our garden!

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And these adorable stray kittens in Istanbul.Istanbul291

This Week I Loved…

An old fashioned cherry cola.1065761_10100535563318855_480919759_o Freshly picked cherry tomatoes from our garden.1063283_10100535562530435_1257224527_o

And the first fully ripe zucchini from our garden.

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A summer feast for friends and family.1060557_10100530579227015_1901190698_oSlicing summer fruits for a delicious tart.
1059757_10100535563807875_1856734675_oCuddling with my sister’s funny little dog, Daisy. (Such a love bug!)

1056857_10100531683005035_1046217409_nAnd this monument to lab rats used in DNA research.

This Week I Loved…

Sunset in Arizona on Mother’s Day.949236_10100481333201445_1635570993_o

The Restoration Hardware flagship store in Scottsdale.
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A full detail on my car made it like new again.
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A delicious meal cooked up by the hubby.959194_10100485610878945_52624368_o

Zucchini blossoms in our garden.

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Neighborhood kumquats.

958432_10100485903228075_2021112359_oAnd this…

Spring Garden: Cozy and Delicious

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the flowers that overhang our back patio

We’ve been diving into Spring, and we’re so excited it’s here! I know, I do live in Southern California, and it’s pretty temperate most of the year. But still, Spring is the best time of year. The temperatures stop dropping into the low 40’s, the Winter rain takes a break, and just like on the East coast everything becomes new and green and lush again.

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our back patio (the “lounge”), great for reading, grilling, and chilling

On the first warm weekend, we jumped at the chance to get our outdoor space ready, starting with a refresh of our back patio (which I lovingly like to call our “lounge”). Last week I mentioned our first bbq of Spring; this is where the ladies watched from as the guys battled it out over a game of bocci ball!

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I love to cozy up here with a book

Plus, we have long aspired to be herb gardeners, and since this is the first Spring since we moved into our house last year, we finally have the space for a modest vegetable and herb garden. The hubby cleared out the garden left by the last owners, mainly because it was mostly berries and berries can be impossible to wrangle! (If you’re not familiar with growing berries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are travelers so they can quickly take over your garden if you’re not careful!) We put in a 4×4 raised garden bed and a collection of pots (most of them found around our yard in unexpected places, left lying around by the past two owners of the house).

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our raised herb and vegetable garden

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4 x 4 raised garden bed for the vegetables

We included all our favorite herbs, the ones we use the most in the kitchen.

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thyme

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cilantro

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basil

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rosemary

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chives

We have four types of peppers and a tomato plant, which we hope one day to combine with our young lime and avocado trees (they live in the front yard) to make completely home grown guacamole.

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4 kinds of peppers

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tomato

We threw in a zucchini and a cucumber, because you can’t go wrong with either of those.

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zucchini

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cucumber

And as lovers of strawberries, we decided to replace the ones we pulled out of the original garden with a few in large pots, so they can travel all they want within the confines of a controlled environment.

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strawberries (and one of the inherited gnomes that live in our garden)

I love peeking over at the garden to see how it’s doing, while lounging out back. And it’s especially satisfying when we need some thyme or basil for a meal and we simply go outside and snip off a sprig from our garden. Hooray for Spring!

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the view of our garden from our lounge (and another inherited gnome; we decided to let them stay for good luck)

What have you done to prepare your outdoor space for Spring?

A Beautiful Day at the Arboretum

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an unsuspecting entrance to the beautiful grounds at the LA County Arboretum

Last Friday a friend and I took advantage of a beautiful, warm and sunny day by spending it outside at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. What can I say about this place, except that it is a gorgeous reprieve from the sprawl that surrounds it! What a fantastic way to remind yourself of all the amazing vegetation in the world.

The Arboretum is sectioned off into different areas of vegetation, including Africa, Australia, and their Prehistoric Forest. They even have a pond, a lake, and a waterfall! They also have some smaller greenhouses to cultivate the more tropical plants, like orchids, that need a lot of humidity since we don’t have a whole lot of that here in Southern California.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Arboretum.

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an orchid trio (Tropical Greenhouse)

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orchids much like mine at home (Tropical Greenhouse)

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beautiful colors speckling the greenhouse (Tropical Greenhouse)

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looking up through the eucalyptus (Australia)

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glass inlays along Serpent Trail (Australia)

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a little taste of down under (Australia)

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Tule Pond

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I want to have story time under this tree!

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Canadian Geese remind me of being back in the Northeast

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another view through the trees

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The magnolias are blooming! (Meadowbrook)

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And so are the cherry blossoms! (Meadowbrook)

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My favorite part of the day was discovering the waterfall behind the magnolias and cherry blossoms!

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makes me feel like I might be in Hawaii

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a second baby waterfall next to the bigger one

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the view from above the waterfall (Tallac Knoll)

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This could be the best reading spot in the whole place! (Tallac Knoll)

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a big old Cypress tree

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Queen Anne Cottage (1885) – You can’t go inside, but you can peak into the windows to see the period accurate furnished interiors!

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lots of very big, very old cacti along the main walkway