The Art Gallery Garden

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Facts and Figures


The Art Gallery Garden

Facts and Figures

Architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey designed the Art Gallery, the former Huntington residence.? Construction began in 1908 and was completed in 1910 with the Huntington family taking up residence in January 1914. The Rockery, which was built with Santa Cruz limestone, was originally planted with tender cycads and ferns. Because orchids were Mrs. Huntington?s favorite flower, William Hertrich successfully experimented planting cymbidium out-of-doors for the first time in California in the rockery area. The Art Gallery, built on top of the Raymond Hill Fault, was reinforced in 1974 and the north wall was reinforced in 1994.


Sometimes called ?living fossils,? an important collection of cycads is planted around the Art Gallery. During the carboniferous age, cycads were among the dominant large, woody plants.

Several large clumps of Cycas revoluta, sago palm, are among the oldest cycads in the United States, the largest being possibly 400 years old.

Chorisia insignis, the white silk floss tree, planted next to the walkway and native to the upper Amazon basin in Peru, produces large seed pods which spill out silky floss covering the lower plants with a cotton-like fiber.

Schefflera arboricola, trained as a climber on the wall of the Art Gallery, more commonly grown as a houseplant, was introduced into the United States from seed imported by The Huntington from Taiwan in 1966.

Raphis palms, clump forming, shade-loving palms from southern China with bamboo-like stems, are called Lady Palms and most often grown as houseplants.

Caryota urens, the fishtail palm, with bipinnate fronds, are monocarpic (once reaching maturity they flower, produce seed, and then die).

Named for an early British governor of India, clivias reach peak bloom in March and April. Flowers range from yellow and apricot to deep orange-red.

The Taxus baccata or English yew, planted on the east side, were once held sacred by the ancient Celts of Britain and often live to be more than a thousand years old.

Planted over the south terrace of the Art Gallery, Erythrina caffra or South African coral tree, is one of the largest species of coral trees.

Castanospermum australe, Moreton Bay chestnut, has poisonous seeds that produce an alkaloid with potential use in AIDS and cancer research.

The large Magnolia grandiflora, or southern magnolia, on the west side of the gallery was moved to its present site from the original Shorb residence and is over one hundred years old.


General clean up on the north side of the Art Gallery, including pruning and training trees and removing excess plantings in the Circle area.

Retrofitting and earthquake repair of the Art Gallery are on-going.


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