Seeking Blossom at Huntingdon Library and Botanical Gardens

Cherry Blossom Tree Huntingdon Library and Botanical Garden

Blossom is the perfect backdrop to spring. The bright, dainty flowers ignite a little hope as they signify the changing of the seasons.  Growing up in the UK, I have memories of seeing pink and white blossom bloom overnight then, as the weeks drew on, slowly drift to the ground like snowflakes. When I moved to Korea in 2006 I became aware of the cult of the cherry blossom flower and I’ve been addicted to finding it ever since.

Chinese Garden Baby wearing Huntingdon Library Los Angeles

This year Justin, baby girl and I got our blossom fix at the Huntingdon Library and Botanical Gardens in LA. This impressive location wasn’t even on our radar until our babymoon last summer. While purchasing a little panda picture book for our (yet to be born) baby in the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, we struck up a conversation with the sales clerk. We discussed the usual things: where we are from, where we met and why we had recently been living in Beijing (usual topics of conversation for us anyway). She insisted we must visit the Huntingdon Library in Los Angeles and see the new Chinese Garden there.

With a baby on the way, it took us some time to actually make it there. I want to say I was keeping blossom watch, ready to head up to LA the moment it bloomed. In reality, I forgot about the gardens, randomly googled it one day and saw that it was blossom time! So up to LA we went. This was baby’s very first trip out of Orange County. Considering Justin and I met in Asia and have lived their multiple times, a trip to some Japanese and Chinese gardens was the perfect first day trip.

The gardens did not disappoint. While there definitely wasn’t as much blossom as we have seen at festivals in Korea and Beijing, it was a truly beautiful and relaxing place. We explored the Chinese garden first and tucked into some delicious food, Tsingdao beer (Justin) lychee lemonade (me) and milk (baby, courtesy of me) at the Freshwater Noodle and Dumpling House. The garden was beautifully designed with curved architecture, bridges and tinkling water features. It was just like the ones we had seen in China; perhaps even nicer! This is only the first phase of the Chinese garden. Amazingly, they will be extending it even further in the second phase. I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

Next we went on to the peaceful Japanese garden- it reminded me of one we had visited in Kyoto complete with blooming trees, bonsai and a zen garden.  I’m a little bit in love with Japan (and East Asia in general) so this was the perfect treat on a hot and unusually muggy LA day. 

Zen Garden Japanese Huntingdon Library Los Angeles

Japanese Garden Pagoda Huntingdon Library spring blossom

There are sixteen gardens in total, all with different themes. Some of the others include an Australian garden and a desert garden. The Huntingdon Library and Botanical website even has a page telling you what is currently in bloom (see information links at the bottom of this post). With a baby in tow  (and on her very first big day trip, no less) we only caught quick glimpses of the other gardens before it was time to head home. We will certainly will be back to explore the rest.

We might live in an eternal summer here in southern California, but the gardens were a perfect way to experience spring and get a little taste of Asia. It was an ideal location to take baby girl on her first big adventure – we can’t wait to show her the rest of the world!

Information

  • Huntingdon Library and Botanical Garden is open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesday).
  • Admission is $23 for full paying adults.
  • You can find out what is currently in bloom here.
  • The first Thursday of every month is a “free day”. However, you need to reserve the tickets on the first day of the previous month and they go very quickly. See here for more information.

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Have you seen any pretty blossom this year? Where was it?

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