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I could see the sun along the curtains edges as I woke up, so yesterday’s rain had gone.

Ringing Eunice turned out to be a bigger challenge than I had thought – the number was not ‘local’ (i.e. free, from my Motel phone), so I tried the credit card option to pay, but failed. Next I tried the operator. Very helpful, took the number, asked my credit card details, then asked for a ZIP code. I explained that I lived in the UK and offered my postcode. ‘Only US credit card – have a nice day – peeeeeep’, as she put down the phone. Thanks!

So I went back to the Long Beach Cactus & Succulent Society website, where the email contact details had got me in touch with Eunice last year,  but how often would she check this?

Having sent my message, I surfed the net to confirm the location of the Huntington and found that as from 1 January 2008 they open on Monday but are closed on Tuesday, so the problem of what to do today was solved. They opened at noon and I was there 15 minutes later. There had been a grand opening of a new Chinese garden yesterday and this was still receiving lots of attention, so the Desert Garden was nice and devoid of people.

I managed 302 images, which were later trimmed back to 250 as I had taken lots of plant label pictures as well as the plants themselves. Where the Huntington excels is by mass displays of a certain species, rather than just individual plants. This really creates a tremendous impact. But have they outdone themselves? Some areas looked as though the plants had taken over and were trying to crowd out other plants. I remember from Holly Gate that a visitor just sees a single day snapshot and not the progress of planned work. They’ve done OK for quite some years and I’m sure will continue for many more.

Got home at about 4 – The Huntington closes at 4:30 but the shadows were getting long, so ‘bad light stopped play’. Back in the Motel, and just switched on my laptop and the phone rang – Eunice. She had received my email and had tried ringing every hour or so. We agreed to meet up tomorrow instead – to go to the Huntington again, this time ‘through the backdoor’ and meet some of the staff.

Looks like another fun filled day ahead tomorrow!

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