Ditch the wilted, store-bought bouquet and treat your date to a whole garden full of flowers on a romantic outing to the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Start your visit by strolling hand in hand between bonsai trees along the intimate paths of the popular Japanese Garden. The idyllic koi ponds and picture-worthy moon bridge here set the romantic mood better than any candlelit restaurant.
Stop to rest in the Shakespeare Garden, whose pansies, daisies, violets, and roses were featured in the Bard’s most treasured works, such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” If your own poetry skills peaked when you learned about limericks in elementary school, it’s best to leave the serenading to the chirping birds.
In the Huntington Rose Garden, the roses smell sweet no matter what they’re called. Walk in step down the winding path, stopping along the way to sniff the 1,200 varieties of colorful, fragrant flowers. When nobody’s looking, steal a smooch in front of the statue of cupid encircled by a bed of Passionate Kisses roses. Take a break from walking and relax for tea time at the Rose Garden Tea Room. Reservations are required, but the advanced planning is well worth impressing your date with its buffet of petite scones, imported cheeses, fresh fruit, and mouthwatering iced brownies and chocolate mousse cups for dessert.
If you’re more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of planner, whisk your significant other to the Chinese Garden. At the Chinese Tea House, a delicious meal of garlic shrimp spring rolls, stir-fry rice noodles, and a pot of white peony tea awaits you. Before you leave, take the time to explore some of the other gardens. In the summer, the Lily Ponds are home to enchanting pink and purple blooms that are the perfect backdrop when you pose for a picture together.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, until your next romantic rendezvous at the Huntington Botanical Gardens — perhaps tomorrow?
Photo by Deborah Schander