Week One: El Niño Report from the Huntington Botanical Gardens

Here in sunny Southern California we are heading into the weekend and I have an active day ahead of me, but before I head out the door I will share a few photos from my visit yesterday to the Huntington Botanical Gardens.

DSC_2370Early in the week I’d set my intention to visit the Huntington on Thursday, rain or shine. As you can see, I was fortunate to find “shine!”

After several days of Mr. El Niño’s gift of more than three and half inches of welcome rain over the vicinity of the Huntington, it was warm(ish) and delightful.

Although the earth had absorbed a good soaking, one man was overcome by the evidence that the grounds had enjoyed a bath and a nice long drink.


Don’t worry. He’s still breathing! This sun worshipper decided to soak up a few more rays before the next storm whips through here some time Saturday.

I have been admiring these “red hot pokers” for some time now. Their stunning color just bursts out of the muted grasses and deciduous plants.

I wonder if hummingbirds are attracted to these “pokers?” Its botanical name is Kniphofia Christmas Cheer, sometimes just called Red Hot Poker. and adapted to full to partial shade, Zones 8-10.

A visit to the Huntington gardens assists me in determining what will do well in my personal garden. Of course, I need to take scale into account. Everything looks more attractive when the beds are huge and the plants massed to create spectacular color.



But I do get a few hints for what I could be considering. I always spend a few minutes in the herb garden. It was because of a trip to the Huntington that I realized cotton could be grown in our home garden. You can read about my success as a cotton farmer HERE.

With water conservation ever-present in my garden planning, I haven’t invested in edible gardening for at least two, maybe three years now, but I don’t hesitate to continue adding new herbs to my small plot.


I seem to be attracted to “red” this time of year. I think I’ll hunt down some Zorba Red Oregano seeds.

I recall right before the end of the year listening to a climatologist interviewed and asked, “How will we know when El Niño has arrived.” And the response, delivered with a chuckle, “Oh! You’ll know!”

The rain this week has washed everything clean and we are poised and ready for more. As an avid gardener, I have found this rain exciting as I think about the seed catalogues soon to appear in my mailbox. I may not ignore them this year!

I’m breathing lighter, and headed into a quiet weekend. My mom and I had plans to meet with a few of her friends, but rain and freeways in Southern California are ridiculously hazardous so that luncheon has been postponed.

What will I do with that “found” time?

Just exhale!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends, and breathe lighter.

And, rain or shine, I’ll report again next week from the Chinese Garden at the Huntington.