The Huntington Ranch

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Wild sage and buckwheat in the foreground.

I am going to say something tantamount to heresy: Although I recognize how amazing the Huntington Botanical Garden is, I don’t really love it. I have been in awe of it, but not in touch with it – until today. Today there was an open house at the Huntington Ranch. The area is currently not open to the public except for special programs and educational activities.(Check their calendar for future open houses and events.)

Where as the Huntington is grand and expansive, the Ranch is intimate, though not small, and alive. It is an experiment in sustainable, urban agriculture and horticulture. Practices include use of onsite organic materials for mulch, drip irrigation, and the interplanting of edibles with natives and other plants attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects. There is a big emphasis on fruit trees, though there is an abundance of herbs, tomatoes, and many other greens and veggies.

While I have enjoyed the Huntington for years and visited the garden while taking plant id courses to see some great specimens of horticultural plants, its scale is too imposing for me to take much back to my own garden – until now. My biggest hope is that the Huntington Ranch will stay experimental, a bit messy, and full of life.

Scott Kleinrock, (above) and Kyra Saegusa patiently answered our questions on irrigation, pests, mulch and whatever else we threw at them. Thank you, Scott and Kyra. 
California sagebrush growing between edibles and other pollinator attractors.
I love the simplicity of the jute and rebar stakes holding up the tomato plants.
Lovely Julia Phelps ceanothus (I think it is Julia – there was no tag and I didn’t ask)

One thought on “The Huntington Ranch

  1. I can relate to your relating to the more homey slightly messy garden you show in those lovely photos! I love my messy garden the way you love an ugly mutt!

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