Cycad Garden Tour at the Huntington
Thursday, October 6, 2022 from 5:30 pm - 6:30pm
(prior to October meeting at 7:20)
Photo supplied by speaker
The Whitelock Cycad Collection Takes Root at the Huntington
The Southern California Horticultural Society's monthly meeting and program will be held on the FIRST Thursday of the month, on October 6, and takes place at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. This “double feature” begins with a guided tour of the new Loran Whitelock Cycad Garden led by Huntington staff, followed by a lecture. Our speaker, Gary Roberson, serves as the Lead Project Gardener of the cycad garden, and he will describe his experience in relocating the 40-year-old Whitelock collection, starting with the inventorying, labeling and microchipping of the plants in 2014 and taking us through to the present day.
Roberson’s love of plants began with his own garden at the age of six, and continued through his involvement with Future Farmers of America, which led to Horticultural Intern positions in both Germany and Australia. Over the years, he has worked in the wholesale and retail nursery industries, and when an opportunity arose to work at The Huntington, he moved from Washington state to Southern California in 1999. He has cross-trained in the Jungle, Palm, and Desert gardens before assuming his current position.
In July 2015, the Huntington received a large donation of cycads from the estate of Loran Whitelock, a passionate local plantsman known internationally as the leading expert in cycads. Roberson was tasked with the responsibility of spearheading the documenting, labeling, transporting, and transplanting of over 640 cycads from Eagle Rock into The Huntington gardens, nearly tripling their collection. Altogether over 2,800 plants (including clivias, staghorn ferns, orchids, aloes, agaves, palms, begonias, bulbs, etc.) were gathered from Whitlock’s extensive garden.
The collection is now a long, diagonal ribbon winding through several themed gardens. The new Cycad Rockery is the most dramatic display of these ancient beauties, which have settled into their new home nicely over the past seven years. We are very much looking forward to both the tour and Roberson’s talk on this special evening and would also like to express our thanks The Huntington for hosting this program.
The tour and the meeting that follows are free for SCHS members, but $5 for non-members. Pre-registration for the tour is required, as there is a cap of 60 attendees. Tour check-in will be from 5:00 - 5:20pm at the circle in front of the Ahmanson Classroom in the Brody Botanical Center. If you will be attending the meeting, but not the tour, check-in will be from 6:45 - 7:15. Note: try to park in the west parking lot (furthest to the right as you drive in) - please allow for car traffic and walking time. Tour registration closes on Tuesday, October 4.
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