Henry Huntington bought the San Marino Ranch in 1903, and transformed it into a botanical garden of rare and exotic plants. The garden is made up of fourteen connected gardens, each with its own theme, showcasing more than 14,000 varieties of plants. The Lily Ponds were the developed first, where turtles and ducks swim around the water lilies, lotus plants, and papyrus. Then followed the Japanese Garden, which was partially built by a Japanese craftsman, the Desert Garden, home to many species of cactuses and of the largest collection of aloe outside of Africa.
Huntington cultivated plants from all over to experiment their cultivation in Southern California. For the Lily Ponds, he needed to create a warm environment to maintain them during the cool Southern California winters.
Since Mr. Huntington’s death in 1927 many other gardens have been developed, including the Australian Garden, the Camellia Garden and the Herb Garden.
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