A New Garden Turns 100

The Huntington's landmark area is set to open.

Renovating a kitchen? Change is not welcome once the renovation is completed. You want the cabinets and the sink and the floor to remain as nice as the day they were all installed.

But a renovated garden is a different matter. Yes, the static items will stay mostly the same -- the bridges and walkways -- but a garden is constantly renovating itself, every single day. Which makes the major renovation of any wild and natural place a bold and rather poetic undertaking.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is no stranger to poetry and art and bold risks, though. And its newly renovated, 100-year-old treasure -- the Japanese Garden -- will reflect that when it opens after a year-long closure on Wednesday, April 11.

The garden gained a traditional tea house -- name: Seifu-an, or the Arbor of Pure Breeze -- and a new waterfall. But the koi will be back to add a splash of orange-y dash to the nine-acre site. And the wisteria, too, which is one of the purple-pretty hallmarks of the Huntington.

The Japanese Garden does  indeed mark its centennial in 2012. It's a milestone for the San Marino and Pasadena area, of course, but given that it truly is one of the most famous and highly photographed plots on the planet you can bet that horti-buffs will be making the pilgrimage from points all over to see the updates.

And those updates are already changing, of course, a little each day. A tree drops a leaf or a bud blooms. But such is the nature of the renovated garden. We humans can take care of the structural elements. Then the reins get handed over to nature herself.

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