In the Field: Bonsai Court at Huntington Gardens

A world class collection of bonsai specimens in our own backyard

11.19.2021

A regular spot for us when in need of a moment to reconnect is the famed Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. An incredible 130-acre sprawl in San Marino, the Huntington is home to an incredibly diverse collection of over 27,000 plant taxa across more than a dozen themed gardens: Rose, Desert, Jungle, Australian and Chinese to name but a few.

Within the vast gardens lies a special place for us. A place deserving a moment of study here. Within the Japanese garden, past the Half Moon Bridge, the historical Japanese house and through the zen garden is that place: Bonsai Court. Situated on handcrafted viewing platforms in front of various traditionally constructed Japanese fences are dozens of world class bonsai specimens.

The collection is actually home to hundreds of Bonsai which rotate throughout the year, ensuring a unique viewing almost every time we arrive. Though this particular area of the Huntington began in 1968 (by a WWII veteran who discovered Bonsai while stationed in Japan during the war), some of these Bonsai date back 1,000 years. You can feel the care and respect each one receives from the fanatical gardeners here. It’s a preservation of history and culture that feels much larger than the physical specimens themselves.

We invite you to take a moment to pause and study some of our favorite examples on display from a recent visit. The twisted trunks, the trained branches, the changing leaves, the miniature fruits…