Week Three: El Niño Report from the Huntington Botanical Gardens

Precipitation is defined as “any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity.”  Something wet fell from the sky on Tuesday,–very briefly. I wasn’t too impressed.

I’m ready for a good old-fashioned downpour, but this was my view and I’m not complaining.




I thought I’d make just a quick tour of the succulents and  move on to another garden area, but there was just too much to see.




DSC_2570I spent a full 90 minutes in one relatively small portion of the garden. The succulents were blooming and the bees were feasting, their collective hum loud enough to hear from a distance.

Maybe next week these cacti will be blooming!



What a riot of winter color!


Sometimes all we need to do is simply appreciate. And I do.


I was encouraged to join Jude’s Winter Garden Challenge. To follow along and perhaps add photos of your own winter garden experience, click HEREYou’ll find some of her beautiful garden photography HERE.

I would really enjoy seeing what January offers in your winter garden.

With blizzards descending on a significant portion  of the U.S. this weekend, I think it’s best I just be very happy with the warmth and color of January in my little corner of the world. This is really not the time to complain about a drought.

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36 thoughts on “Week Three: El Niño Report from the Huntington Botanical Gardens

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t get more rain. We had a downpour yesterday that was so severe it made driving on the roads really challenging and there were a lot of breakdowns and accidents. Your images of the plants and flowers in the garden are stunning xx

    • No more rain yet, Charlie, but we are basically “told” that February and March will be the months. LOL! We’ll see, I guess. 🙂 It’s true, though, as you say and have experienced, that with that rain come road hazards and other sometimes bigger issues. I think that visiting the gardens has at least made me fully aware of the beauty of the season. The Huntington has put a lot of effort into adding new sections that are drought tolerant, and I am paying attention and hoping to learn more about what will do well in my home garden with little watering. I hope you have a great week, my friend.

  2. Beautiful photos! That succulent and cactus garden is stunning Debra. I have never seen anything like it, and it is just so surprisingly colourful. Thank you for sharing, and hope you get some decent rain.

    • The rain is still coming…or we are told so! LOL! The cacti and succulents are so interesting to me, too, Cathy. I have had people say to me that they don’t care for them, and I’m always surprised by that response. There is so much diversity in the varieties and colors and flowering cycles, that I really think they need to be appreciated. 🙂

  3. It’s crazy how much time I can spend in a tiny part of a garden and cacti and succulents are much more interesting than a lot of people think. Your photo of the agave and cacti at the top is so clear and sharp in that light; I can almost feel the warmth. And the aloes with their flowers are gorgeous. This is a stunning garden. Thank you for linking to mine 🙂

    • I’m in complete agreement with you, Judy, that the cacti and succulents are really very beautiful and so interesting in the diversity! I only posted a very few photos of the dozens that I took. Some didn’t accurately show just how gorgeous the bloom was in person. I’m already wondering what section of the garden I might visit this week. I tend to go back to my favorites each time, and other portions are left unexplored! 🙂

    • Thank you for the link to the wonderful cactus flower and Col’s post! I do follow his blog but I’ve been away a couple of days and very well may have missed it! Gorgeous.

  4. Enjoy your pleasant weather. We are in the midst of a huge snow storm predicted to go until tomorrow morning. The east coast is pretty but not a fun place to be right now! All shades of gray.

    • Thank you, Susie. I would love to share just a little warmth with you, but if the photos help, that’s great. Two of my California friends now living in Colorado contacted me over the weekend to report they are cold!They have happily made their homes in Colorado, but it must take a while to know how to navigate a completely different climate. Now if we could just figure out a way to pipeline all that spring run-off to California we’d really have a grand answer to our drought. 🙂

  5. Wow – I’m impressed with your photography skills, Debra! I’m now starting to realize at least some basic understanding of using a decent camera is necessary for a blogger! 🙂 Of course, it’s also the beauty of the subject that makes the photograph that much more stunning…I’m looking outside and seeing a light dusting of snow falling right now…haha! But you’re definitely right about finding the beauty in whatever we are looking at or living in…helps us appreciate each season! xoxo

    • Stacey, a good camera is helpful, but I do want to point out that some of the best blogs I read don’t use ANY photographs. I think the photography is becoming more of a hobby for me, and I can use the blog experience to practice! I took some really nice photos of the girls this past Christmas and realize that my “practicing” is bringing results. I think if I were in your city I’d practice with some black and white photography and capture some of the drama. There definitely is beauty in that. I’m glad you weren’t right in the middle of the storm this past weekend. Once again I had time to look at the news footage and think to myself that if I ever complain about being cold (which, sadly I do) someone should just smack me! LOL!

  6. My gardens are mostly covered with snow now, but you have inspired me to take some more photos of them. Love your beautiful pictures this morning. It’s so nice to explore California through your eyes and words. Have a great week Debra!

    • Karen, I think that photography in the snow would be a very interesting little exercise! Maybe take them in black and white and just concentrate on how stark the landscape, but beautiful as well. I hope that you have a great week, too, my friend. When I contemplate how it’s already the 25th of the month I just have to shake my head. A week feels like a day! 🙂

  7. Look at you! Rather, look at that bee you caught in mid-air. Wonderful, wonderful, Debra, as well as the others that posed for you. These succulents are so ancient looking and bursting with color and energy. It is so good to see from my cold vantage point, though we did not get hammered with the winds and snow that the east coast did. So, instead of checking gardens, I went to a local antique/used mall and found a beret with which I may toss in the air next Monday and pretend to be Mary Richards. 🙂

    • Oh! I love it, Penny! I think you’d make a delightful Mary. I think your garden club friends would think you fit that role well! Just thinking about that makes me smile. I am glad you were not completely homebound over the weekend. I tried to think about what that would mean to be told, as in NY, “Stay home! Don’t go anywhere!” Thank you for the photography compliments, my friend. I’m having fun taking one day a week to practice. 🙂

    • That is so lovely to hear, Rommel. You’ve been so many wonderful places and it pleases me to hear that you really appreciated the Huntington! I don’t have your experiences (not even close!!) and that really means a lot. Thank you!

    • I have appreciated how you and Jude both encourage me to continue with the garden strolls! By nature of sharing and linking to Jude’s blog I have been taking a little more time with my photos, and that’s been fun. 🙂

  8. I’m with you, Debra, and could never rush through the succulents section and I’d be sure to come back if there’s a chance to see the cacti in bloom. My little prickly pear bloomed last spring and I was as pleased as I was when my wisteria bloomed after waiting 7 years for it to mature. I do hope your area has received some drought relief in recent weeks. I can only imagine how much more beautiful these gardens would look after a nice shower. As for my garden, it’s bare earth and brown branches — and it’s better that way. If my roses awaken too early, they’ll suffer when the weather turns cold again. I’ve been down that road before and lost a few. Can’t wait to see what else you’ll be showing us from these gardens.

    • Thank you for the encouragement to continue posting from the Huntington Botanical Gardens, John. We did enjoy rain this weekend, and I am sure we’re going to have plenty more. But even with rain, I am planning to continue to make changes in our garden towards more and more drought-tolerant choices. I would like to introduce some new succulents and natives to the garden and visiting the Huntington is introducing me to some interesting options I hadn’t previously considered. I don’t think we’ll ever again be inclined towards water usage that we thoughtlessly “enjoyed” prior to this drought. Conserving water is a good thing, but it’s been a challenge learning how to conserve and still have a beautiful garden. I have some roses, and as they get old and perhaps no longer perform, I’m probably taking them out. I’m not there yet! But I’m thinking about what may make sense in the future! That may be a very hard decision!

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