Damage at the Huntington

Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Wed, 07 Dec 2011 16:40:18 PST
Hello All,

This is a message I forward from Gary Lyons, Curator of the Desert Garden
at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in California. The damage was severe.
Anybody living in the Southern California area would be welcome to help

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

What happened in the San Gabriel Valley last week has been called by some,
a meteorological anomaly. As a whole, the botanic gardens look like it
experienced a deadly hurricane. However, I am pleased to report that the
Huntington Desert Garden is the least damaged of all our gardens; it does
not mean we did not have significant damage. The north end of the Desert
Garden suffered the most damage and we are having trouble getting to the
worst of the damage, which is in the Desert Garden nursery and the
Madagascar bed. In the Mad. bed our beautiful Fever Tree (Acacia
xanthophloea) was blown out of the ground and is on top of the west side
of the display. We still have to chainsaw our way into the north end of
the Desert Garden nursery to see how many plants were crushed by fallen
acacia limbs. Our large Euphorbia ammak hybrid (our largest tree
euphorbia} was blown over on an E. tirucalli. Numerous Aloe ferox, A.
spectabilis and A. marlothii were blown over but can be rescued. Near the
garden entrance and across from the Palm Garden, our largest Aloe bainesii
is now half its original size. Throughout the garden there is a thick
carpet of leaf litter, broken tree branches, broken ceroid stems, yucca
branches (plus our tallest Yucca rostrata across from the Baja Bed, which
was blown out of the ground). Cereus and Stenocereus limbs are scattered
throughout the garden, numerous flowering agaves blown over. Wherever
there are beaucarneas there are thick carpets of their leaves. A few Yucca
filifera lost a branch or two, but all are still standing. My guess is the
garden will be cleaned up sometime in the Spring. The boojums didn't do so
well. Three went over and one was heavily damaged. The Heritage Walk in
the lower garden was left nearly intact. We still have to do a more
thorough inventory of damage in the non-public areas. As far as I can tell
the Desert Conservatory has no outside damage but I did find a bit of
broken glass. Perhaps you can get an update on the collections nursery and
conservatory from John Trager.

[V]olunteers are most welcome to help to helpus with the cleanup. If
anyone would care to help, you can email me at glyons@huntington.org or to
mheydorff@huntington.org (Mikki H. is our volunteer coordinator). We will
be doing cleanup every day except Sunday. Hopefully we can get most of the
leaf litter out of the beds and especially out of the cacti. It is a
tedious job and not for the faint hearted.

As for the other Huntington gardens---well, the Japanese Garden is closed
for renovation, the Jungle is closed (now it really is a jungle and
impossible to see the paths}. The tree cover is mostly destroyed. The
subtropical hill and Australian Garden are heavily damaged and will be
closed for several weeks while the fallen trees are removed. Much of the
North Vista, the Camellia Garden and Mausoleum are closed because of
fallen trees.

As of today it is estimated that 100-150 trees were blown over or so badly
damaged that they will be removed. We took a hit from what appears to be
turbulent hurricane force winds. If we had experienced
soaking rains prior to this wind event the damage to all the gardens would
have been absolutely devastating beyond words. I haven't seen an event
like this since 1969 when the Huntington lost over 200

We need help,

Gary Lyons, Curator of the Desert Garden

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