Friday, April 1, 2016


This week's arts and culture piece was meant to go in last week, on Good Friday but turned out the paper was dark for Easter.

So here is a reflection on the world-class Huntington Desert Garden, which happens to be a mere few miles from where I live.

It begins:

The Huntington Gardens and Library in Pasadena boasts what is widely considered one of the world’s premier collections of desert plants. The famed Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx called it “the most extraordinary garden in the world,” period.

You can learn more, among other places, in the book “Desert Plants: A Curator’s Introduction to the Huntington Desert Garden” by Gary Lyons.

“As you might imagine,” director Jim Folsom observes in the foreword, “when a garden includes 12 acres of plants, rockery and paths, has several thousand species to boast, and entails the life’s work of many people, there are wonderful specimens to encounter, great stories to tell and myriad lessons to learn.

“You do not merely visit the Desert Garden: you enter it, you are surrounded by and immersed in this wholly different and, at first sight, perhaps strange dreamscape. This garden takes you in and speaks to you in a fresh and compelling voice. Shape, form, movement, color and texture have different meaning here. Plant life and presentation defy, and then reconstruct, your sense of what might be possible.”


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