Wind, Then Wonder

Camellias are abloom at our grandest gardens.

Huntington Gardens

While the regal Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens had a lot to crow about during 2011 -- as it does each and every year -- one of its headline-making stories was less than sweet-smelling.

We're referring to the Great Windstorm of '11, which ripped out trees and shrubbery throughout San Marino and Pasadena. The fabled gardens, of course, did not escape, and the pictures tell the branches-everywhere tale.

But clean-up has been on-going at the San Marino landmark and things have been getting back to normal. And normal in January at the gardens? Means camellias, in part. In very large part.

The camellia is one of Southern California's most famous winter blooms, and a little wind isn't going to stop its blooming plans. It is, in fact, popping out at the moment, filling up bushes alongside the elegant statues that dot the Huntington grounds.

The flowers are known for making the trek well into February and even March -- they're not the fussiest of the floral family -- but we say that people should take them in while we're having such fine weather. The rains are sure to return soon, like they always do.

And give the Huntington some love in this post-wind aftermath. It is venerable but not invulnerable. It took a few hits during the storm, but, through a lot of effort and clean-up, has been coming back very nicely.

Pictured: A beautiful Camellia 'Brigadoon' in full bloom among the 18th-century statues in the North Vista. Copyright the Huntington Gardens, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

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