A $1.1 million grant from the Foundation helped launch the Ranch Project in 2009 in San Marino, CA.
The Ranch Garden includes a mixture of edible landscapes, in which fruit trees mingle with native shrubs, perennial herbs, and reseeding annuals. Small annual crop planting beds are interspersed throughout, with a concentrated row crop area at the core. Many of the original fruit trees – both within the ½ acre Garden boundary, and outside in a mixed oak-fruit forest – came from the South Central Farm, an urban garden in Los Angeles that was razed in 2006. Rescued by the Metabolic Studio, a charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation, the trees were boxed and moved to The Huntington.
It explores and interprets optimal approaches to gardening in our regional ecosystems and climate – the semi-arid landscapes of Southern California. Part classroom and part research lab, the Ranch Garden draws inspiration from Huntington’s and the region’s agricultural heritage, while making connections with gardeners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape professionals, educators, and researchers throughout Southern California.
“Henry Huntington’s interest in productive horticulture got left behind as the institutional emphasis shifted to ornamentals and rare tropical plants,” says Jim Folsom, the Director of the Botanical Gardens. “With the Ranch Garden Project, we are returning to our agricultural roots.”