I was in California for a couple of days, and while I was there, there was a bit of time that was free. Given that the weather was (mostly) nice, it was the perfect time to be outdoors. So it turned into the time of gardens: the Arboretum, the Huntington Library, and Arlington Gardens.
I've been to the Arboretum innumerable times. While some people who grew up in Southern California say Disneyland was like their park, my family never had annual passes. We would go to Disneyland, but not as often as that. So the Arboretum was my park: eating oranges in the groves, playing hide and seek among the trees, walking through the bamboo paths. It's a gorgeous place, but somehow also casual. And did I mention the peacocks? They're everywhere and very used to people being around. This time, I saw one with her two babies.
The Huntington Library I actually have many less memories of. And the last time I went was, oh, probably at least ten years ago, maybe more. Besides the gardens, there is also art--and the famous library itself. Those types of things I wasn't as interested in when I was younger: I had less context for them. But this time it was exciting. Ooo, there's a Corot painting here. Ah, yes, I can see Fuseli's style in these images, even though I'm not sure if I've seen them before. Look, those paintings were on one of my textbooks. My, these paintings are so old--hundreds of years old. Wow, they have a Gutenberg Bible here. Look, a letter from Mark Twain. And that's Shakespeare's first folio.
Not to diminish the gardens, here I give one of my favorite of the roses, a merry yellow called Golden Fleece.
After viewing all of these grand gardens, Arlington Garden in Pasadena was completely different. It's a little nook not far from Old Town. It's free, so it's more like a park, somewhere you can just walk into. The garden is younger than the others and less formal. There are benches and tables for sitting or reading. The plants vary somewhat, trees and bushes and flowers and plants chosen for their heartiness in climates with little water. Visiting this place was like going to Beatrix Potter's garden, like receiving a way to apply gardens to your own home. While the Huntington Library's gardens are grand, we can't all have gardens like that. So visiting all three places was like going full circle through beauty and nature and culture and fun and applicability.