Bach, Burn, Books and Botany

This past weekend the Beloved and I took a trip up to Pasadena. The
reason for the visit was the last of her Christmas presents, which were
tickets to see the Cal Phil perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (some of her favorites).

Moreover, we coupled the opportunity to get together with some friends
that we too-rarely get to see. We got together with them on Saturday
afternoon at their home, went out for a great dinner and went to the
concert. The orchestra played all six concertos, which made for a long
concert (I don’t think we got out until after 11:00), but they did a
really good job. Great day.

On thing that could have spoiled the day was that
it’s apparently the start of another wildfire season in Southern
California. On Saturday, it was a scorcher – near 100 and a big
wildfire started up in the Sierra Madre region just southeast of
Pasadena. It was a little disturbing – especially after the horrendous
fires in San Diego last fall – that we could see the flames from our
hotel window when we returned from the concert. Some folks were
evacuated, but no damage was done to any homes or structures.

On Sunday, we spent the day at the Huntington Library and Gardens,
which I had never been to before. I thought it was great. Wonderful
collection of art, history, antique books, and gardens that kept me
more interested together than any one of them would have alone. Also,
ducking into one of the tiny museums was a good respite from strolling
in ~100 degree gardens.

One thing you realize is that the Huntington is a
massive library – and they have a great collection of historical books.
We were able to see an original Gutenberg Bible and a first edition of
Milton’s Paradise Lost among others. The scientist in me got a charge
of seeing an original copy of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia – one of the most important “popular science” books of all time and an illustration of the new science of microscopy.

The other highpoint was walking around the
different gardens on the Huntington grounds. The roses were really in
bloom and folks were enjoying walking around and sampling their array
of colors and fragrances. As gorgeous as they were, I think I liked the
cactus and succulent garden – which was also in bloom (though not
nearly as crowded) – the best. There’s something about their ability to
thrive in the harshest of environments that makes me really enjoy
seeing them.

On Monday, we slept in and had a nice easy mid-day drive back to San Diego.  Not a bad weekend at all.

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18 thoughts on “Bach, Burn, Books and Botany

  1. I love the Gardens too. I was always disappointed I lived too far to go more often. Last time I was there, they had a special exhibit going on. A great collection of I. Newton notebooks. Of course the biggies were there, but I really liked seeing some of the lesser known stuff. And so… you keep finding out that having LA so near you is not so bad after all!

  2. I just love it when you post about your weekend adventures!
    This one seemed like a feast for the senses – thanks for sharing.
    I sure hope this summer is not like the last one with the fires, but I can see why you would be concerned if you're seeing it already. *fingers crossed*

  3. I cringe when I see/hear about the wildfires as well. Bad memories! Great pics of the library and the gardens! I haven't been there in a long time, but I think I may be too much of a wuss to head up there in the next few months due to the heat.

  4. Yikes, wildfires! You know… my best composition so far is a piece called "Witch Fire" that was sort of my reaction to everything that went on last October. I'm quite fond of it, and I've got a recording from my recital… but I'm not completely happy with the recording. I think I might record it myself sometime in the next few weeks and upload it, cause I really want it to be done justice. I think you'd appreciate it. =)

  5. The Huntington is one of my favorite places. Next month they will reopen the main house. Very exciting. Have you ever had tea there? When we drove by the fire this afternoon, it looked under control. This weekend was certainly ripe for fire conditions with the heat and the wind.

  6. You know — I often have a little kernel of dread heading up to LA, but I have had excellent times each time I've gone there — though no real Angelino would consider Pasadena part of LA.right?? :)

  7. Janette — I would be curious to head back to the Gardens at different times of the year to see what was/wasn't in bloom and how it changes — (though I might settle for spring, fall and winter, too — summer could be really brutal… :) )

  8. chris — we didn't stop at the tea house — I can imagine on a cool morning or late afternoon it would be wonderful. Mid-afternoon and 100?? Not so much… :)

  9. Let's keep the fires to a minimum this year. On more than one occaision, I've had travel plans ruined by fires.
    Oh, and because the are destructive, too.

  10. This is so weird. I'm going to Pasadena this weekend. Which might not be that strange if this isn't the third time this kind of thing happened…. You went to Vermont, then I did. You went to Europe, then I did. Funny!
    Your cactuscape photo is absolumente gorgioso.

  11. Just FYI, they do have AC in there. The tea room was actually a bowling alley originally. Also they serve iced tea and lemonade in addition to hot tea. The food items are served buffet style, and they bring scones to your table. Reservations are recommended, especially during tourist season and on weekends.

  12. Okay — well, we're headed to northern Ohio for a wedding in May — if you end up there at some point, then there's definitely something weird going on!! :D

  13. My son was coming back from Coachella on Sunday to his place in Tujunga. Said the smoke was pretty bad on the freeway.The Huntington is pretty neat. I still remember being amazed at the giant rosemary bushes in the herb garden.And we did the whole tea thing, too. Definitely worth checking out.

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