With the Palo Verde in bloom among golden barrel cactus, I felt like I’d stumbled onto the gardens of the Lost City of Coronado.
Orange and gold. Forests of orange dyckias in bloom. Towering chartreuse plumes of Nolina interrata.
Reasons for making a visit this weekend: The Huntington’s new sustainable urban agriculture exhibit, The Ranch, was opening this weekend, only to be open to the public thereafter the fourth Saturday of every month. The exhibit “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale; Sculpture and Story,” by John Frame, was ending this month. The puyas were in bloom (more photos to come). What other reasons can one possibly need?
MB Maher was in town to finish a project and came along with his camera. These are all his photos and bear his watermark. We saw everything but The Ranch — which seems as mythical to me now as The Lost City of Coronado, (a New World city rumored to be built of gold somewhere in New Mexico, a fatally alluring myth to conquistadors who’d recently looted what the Inca had wrought in gold. Small plot point in third Indiana Jones movie.) When asked, no guide knew where it was. It was not indicated on the hand-out maps. I knew it was near the Children’s Garden, which I circled endlessly. At one point, I found a small sign at knee level lettered with “The Ranch” and an arrow which pointed towards an orange grove just beyond the Children’s Garden, a grove currently being irrigated. We wandered in said orange grove dodging sprinklers for quite a while, until frustration overtook us. MB Maher napped under a tree while I tried asking different docents, circled the Children’s Garden again, wandered off pathways past “No entry” signs, etc., until my feet could take no more. Irritating, yes, but some fourth Saturday of the month I will return and find The Lost Ranch of the Huntington. My niece graduated this weekend with a degree in sustainable agriculture, and I wanted to write her a letter with an account of what sounds like an exciting new addition.