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The Shakespeare Garden

Facts and Figures

Conceived by Homer D. Crotty, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, as a garden to display those plants, which figure prominently in the writings of Shakespeare, this garden provides a unique opportunity to unify two of The Huntington?s major themes, plants and literature. Landscape Architect, Ralph Cornell designed the original garden in a formal style in 1959. Early on it was discovered that many of the plants selected only bloomed in the cool part of the Southern California year so it was decided to expand the collection allowing some non-Shakespearian plants into the garden, and complementing the Library?s fine collection of early Herbals. In 1982 the garden underwent a major redesign by Landscape Architect Ann Christoph to accommodate the new Scott Gallery.


Signs with quotes from Shakespeare mentioning specific plants are placed throughout the garden.

Pomegranate, Punica granatum ?Wonderful?, is mentioned in Romeo and Juliet.

Citrus aurantium, the ?Chinotto? orange, is mentioned in Much Ado About Nothing.

English Oak, Quercus robur, figures prominently in many of Shakespeare?s plays and is the oak of Sherwood Forest in the Robin Hood story.

The ?Apothecary Rose?, the red rose of Lancaster and the white Rose of York , ?Alba semi-plena?, are from a scene in Henry VI.

Ophelia in Hamlet mentions Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, for ?remembrance?.

Primroses and cowslips are common wildflowers of the English countryside and are mentioned in Mid Summer Night?s Dream.

The bust of William Shakespeare commemorates this remarkable man, he wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets, two narrative poems, and some shorter verses.

Copper Beech, Fagus sylvatica ?Atropunicea? is an uncommon deciduous tree in Southern California gardens with highly ornamental red to purple foliage.

Planted thoughout the garden is a collection of repeat blooming bearded iris.

The flag pole is a single trunk of Douglas fir brought to Southern California in 1909 by sailing ship and carted to the present site on horse drawn wagons. It is 132 feet above ground with 16 feet underground.


The Shakespeare Garden sponsors a number of Educational Programs each year:

1. Specially trained Docents are on duty to answer questions.
2. Volunteers assist with planting, propagation, and pruning.


Several beds are being reorganized to display specific plants mentioned in some of Shakespeare?s most important plays.

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