National Geographic : 1958 Feb
Visitors Outside the Gallery Start a Stroll on the 200-acre Estate Henry Huntington left this marble Georgian man sion to house his art collection. Garden ornaments were purchased, mainly abroad, and shipped to San Marino in carload lots. Bronze stag and hounds, created by Jacques Houzeau in 1680, came from France. Red tiles in the terrace were im ported from Wales. told me he would build here in San Marino a place substantial enough to withstand both fire and earthquake. He would build some thing that would be an asset to the people of California. You see, I knew from the begin ning that this would one day be part of Cali fornia's heritage." We were walking along graveled paths among 1,500 varieties of cactus and as many more of other succulents (page 274). "All cacti are succulents," Mr. Hertrich said, "but not all succulents are cacti." He cut into the stem of a succulent with his knife. White latex oozed out. When cut, a cactus gives up water like the reservoir it is; those in the Huntington gardens are watered only two or three times a year. From Cactus Grove to Japanese Garden The cactus garden had been Mr. Hertrich's own idea. At first Huntington had opposed it. The master of San Marino admitted that his grudge against the spiny plants dated back to the time he supervised construction work for the Southern Pacific railroad on the Ari zona desert. While backing away from a grad ing machine, he had been severely punctured. But Mr. Hertrich's persistence prevailed over his employer's poignant memory. Later, in a single shipment, the gardener of San Marino imported three railroad carloads of cacti from that same Arizona desert. To show them in natural surroundings, he added five carloads of volcanic rock. Other shipments followed, finally converting an eroded hillside into a living cactus fantasy that draws ad mirers from all the world. We walked through rose arbors and down flights of steps into a pergola. In springtime this miniature canyon is ablaze with blossoms from a thousand varie ties of camellia. Every plant is labeled. "In the blooming season," Mr. Hertrich re marked, "people come with notebooks, write down the names, and rush off to nurseries." At a bend in the path we were transported across the Pacific to a garden in Japan. A moon bridge arched a flowering lily pond, and 256 a pagoda sheltered a temple bell. Water tum bled down a hill below a Japanese house and splashed into a series of lily ponds surrounded by Oriental garden ornaments (page 272). This garden grew practically overnight. From New York City Huntington had ap proved the idea. That was in 1912, and the California mansion had just been completed. The garden was to be ready by winter, when the owner and his wife planned to move in. "I searched desperately for Oriental plants, through every nursery in California," Mr. Hertrich recalled. "As a last resort, I turned to the owner of a commercial Japanese tea garden in Pasadena. He wouldn't sell me single plants. But he agreed to sell the whole garden. We transplanted the entire enter prise-buildings, bridges, and ornaments." Today, next to the cactus display, the Japa nese garden is the estate's most popular corner.