I got caught in a rainstorm at the Huntington’s desert garden yesterday, which was magical.
I should be getting out to the Huntington every week in winter/spring. I’d been meaning to catch the aloes in bloom since the beginning of January, but one thing after another…and just 30 miles away too.
Resolute this time, I cleared work over the weekend to leave Monday afternoon open. Los Angeles County had just shy of an inch of glorious rain Sunday, and there were rumors of rain for the foothills for Monday too. The relentless drought has turned me into a storm chaser, so even a slim prospect of rain was almost unbearably exciting.
Leaving Long Beach around 11 a.m., it was dry. Glendale, where I stopped for an errand, was dry. It seemed the chances for rain were nil. The skies were cloudy in Pasadena, but I opted to leave the umbrella in the car. My bag was heavy enough with two cameras (idiot!)
These Agave attenuata in bloom may be ‘Boutin’s Blue’
The foothills are notoriously volatile, weather-wise. By 2:30 I was thoroughly drenched, running for cover among towering euphorbia and cacti in the desert garden. The nearest available cover, the desert conservatory, is closed on Mondays. I’d have to leave the desert garden to stay dry, so I opted for getting wet.
As the rain increased from a drizzle to a downpour, which is just about when the shutter froze on my camera, I tucked the camera in my bag and called it quits on photos.
And since everyone else had fled, I had the garden pretty much to myself. All of these are, of course, pre-rain photos (see that person in the distance on the right?)
Like a nest of writhing snakes, Aloe vanbalenii, on the left. Muscular limbs of an oak in the background and the off-limits gate to propagation houses.
Wandering the paths, with my sopping shirt sticking to my back, I remembered the umbrella in the car. Monday’s hours are 12 to 4:30, which barely left enough time to race back to the car to fetch the umbrella. I decided to go for it.
a wild-looking aeonium, new to me. No tag. Possibly ‘Mardi Gras’
The Huntington is undergoing massive alterations to the front entrance. As a result of the construction, entering now dumps you in the camellia garden. Which is quite a hike from the desert garden. At opposite ends of the Huntington in fact. Exiting is via the camellia garden as well. The rerouting due to construction turned a 5-minute walk into at least 15 minutes, walking briskly.
On the roundabout way to the parking lot, I briefly ducked into the old manuscripts building to dry off. Dripping in the foyer, the guard was aghast at the sight of me, but mercifully didn’t kick me back out into the storm. I grabbed a bench and fussed with the camera with the stuck shutter for a bit. (Thank god, it seems fine now.)
At long last, reaching the parking lot, I noticed my Huntington sticker had slid off my purse in the rain. And I had thrown the receipt away…(idiot!) Rather than plead my pathetic case with a ticket clerk, I opted to leave at 3 p.m. At least I’d miss most of the commuter traffic. I was hoping to check on the Australian section. Another time. But I did get to see see some fine aloes, in and out of bloom.
An open hybrid aloe. At the next sale, if there’s any aloe labeled “open hybrid,” I’m grabbing it. You never know, it could be this one.
Aloe erinacea, which looks an awful lot like melanacantha, but erinacea is what the tag said.
Ruddy Aloe dorothea clinging to rock
Opalescent leaves of Aloe chaubadii
Too late for the blooms of Aloe castanea
Aloe ‘Sophie.’ I’ll keep a lookout for ‘Sophie’ at the plant sales too.
Aloe ‘Kujo.’ Nice to see this one in bloom. I found ‘Kujo’ at a local nursery earlier this winter.
‘Hercules.’ The genus aloe was too small to contain him. Like the other tree aloes, he’s busted out and moved to aloidendron.
Aloe ‘Goldilocks,’ the color of Crocosmia ‘Solfatare’
Aloe striata. Mine’s in too much shade currently. Can’t seem to find the right spot for this fairly common aloe. Three moves and counting.
Agave vilmoriana with echium rosettes unfurling for spring. I swear I’ll be back to see them in bloom. Heading home, the roads were dry. Long Beach was dry. Seemed like the only rain Monday was at the desert garden.