Ask the Curator
Clair Martin, the Ruth B. and E. L. Shannon, Jr., Curator of the Rose and Perennial Gardens, and Katarina Eriksson, Head Gardener, are happy to answer your questions regarding the Shakespeare Garden. Please understand that they will try to answer all questions, but may not be able to during very busy times in the garden.
If you have a question, please email Clair at with the words "Ask The Curator" in your subject line. Below are some recent questions that Clair and Katarina have received.
Q: Why aren't there signs for all of the plants in the Shakespeare Garden?
A: We didn't wish to crowd the garden with too many labels.? A lot of the plants in this garden are replaced periodically, also making it difficult to put out signs for everything.? We are planning to have more signs in the future and we are working on detailed planting maps, which the Docents will be able to show you.
Q:? How are the plants arranged in the Shakespeare Garden?
A:? Paler tones are in the West Dell with hotter, brighter tones in the East Dell. We are working on arranging a Romeo and Juliet garden by the west end of the garden, near the bench.
Q:? Are all of the plants mentioned in Shakespeare's works?
A:? No, because many plants mentioned by Shakespeare are Northern European cultivars that generally only bloom in our winter and early spring, leaving a dearth of color for the rest of the year.? We have included and labeled as many of Shakespeare's plants as possible, including quotes from Shakespeare's works where appropriate.
Q:? Who sculpted the bust of Shakespeare?
A:? There are no life portraits of Shakespeare.? This bust is a copy of one that is in a church in his hometown of Stratford-on-Avon.
Q:? What is the odor as you depart to go into the Rose Garden?
A:? It is the evergreen shrub hedge between the two gardens, Viburnum suspensum.? Both the flowers and the foliage smell, but the foliage smells only on hot summer days.
Q:? What's the origin of the flagpole in the Shakespeare Garden?
A:? Mr. Huntington wanted the tallest wooden flagpole in Southern California.? This pole was made from the trunk of a Douglas fir from the Pacific Northwest.? It was brought by ship to Redondo Beach, then loaded onto two horsedrawn wagons and hauled through the city streets of Los Angeles to the present location.? The flagpole is 148 feet long.? There are 132 feet above ground and 16 feet in concrete below the ground.? There have been signs of dry rot at the base--because of that, a steel support structure was installed at the base some time ago.