The James P. Folsom Experimental Ranch Garden is an urban agricultural garden that explores and interprets optimal approaches to gardening in our regional ecosystems and climate – the semi-arid landscapes of Southern California. Part classroom and part research lab, the Ranch Garden draws inspiration from Huntington's and the region's agricultural heritage while making connections with gardeners, native plant enthusiasts, urban farmers, landscape professionals, educators, and researchers throughout Southern California.
The garden includes a mixture of edible landscapes, where fruit trees mingle with native shrubs, perennial herbs, and reseeding annuals. In the center of the 1.5-acre garden is a traditional vegetable row garden. Some of the original fruit trees within the garden—and in the adjacent mixed oak-fruit forest—came from the South Central Farm, an urban garden in Los Angeles that was razed in 2006. Rescued by the Metabolic Studio, a charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation, the trees were boxed and moved to The Huntington. The Ranch Garden is envisioned as a community resource to help bolster L.A.’s capacity to establish a sustainable and equitable food system.
The Ranch is open Saturdays only from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. for visitors who wish to self-tour the urban agriculture site and take home some fresh ideas for regenerative gardening. The Huntington also hosts a broad spectrum of programs and educational activities for adults, families, and teachers, as well as professional development for people actively involved in teaching gardening on a community, education, or professional level. Additional funding for the James P. Folsom Experimental Ranch Garden was provided by the Otis Booth Foundation.