Many visitors ask us, “What’s the best time of year to see the botanical gardens?” Some people favor spring for the first big display of roses, others prefer summer for the water lilies and lotus blooms. But the truth of the matter is that the gardens at The Huntington are beautiful all year round. Those who come only in April or July are missing some of the gardens’ most spectacular moments. Camellias have already begun to bloom in the North Vista, Japanese Garden, and Chinese Garden areas, and will continue to put on a colorful winter display well into March. The Desert Garden’s showiest season is also getting under way, with hundreds of species of aloes coming into bloom up and down the hillside. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of dramatic fall color, from the golden leaves of the ginkgo trees in the Zen Garden, which will be at their peak in the next few weeks, to the brilliant purple of salvias in the Shakespeare Garden, in full bloom now. If you’ve never experienced The Huntington in the fall or winter months, give yourself a holiday gift this year and enjoy all the beauty the season has to offer. Are you hosting out-of-town guests during Thanksgiving or Christmas? Check our website for extended holiday hours on Nov. 26 and from Dec. 27 through Jan. 2. Lisa Blackburn is communications coordinator at The Huntington. Photos by Lisa Blackburn. © 2010 The Huntington.