Havana has a fine botanical garden, but it is not very extensive. I spent a half day in its wonderfully petaled arbors and around its shady fountains. There is a palm alley which artistically considered is very beautiful, 50 palms in two straight lines, each rigidly perpendicular, the smooth round shafts, thicker in the middle, appearing as productions of the lathe rather than vegetable stems. The 50 arched crowns inimitably balanced blaze out light like heaps of stars that had fallen from the sky. The stems were about 60 or 70 ft. in length, the crowns about fifteen feet in dia. Along a stream bank were fine waving bamboos branched and leafed like willows and infinitely graceful in wind gestures. Palm with huge 2 pinnati leaves, leaflets fringed, jagged and one-sided like those of Adiantum. Hundreds of very gorgeously flowered plants, a large proportion of them leguminous. Compared with what I have before seen of artificial flower assemblages this is past comparison the grandest, a perfect metropolis of the brightest and greatest of garden plants. Many handsome fountains water them, and graveled bordered walks curve and slant in all directions in all kinds of fanciful playground styles, more like the fairy gardens of the Arabian nights than any veritable man-made pleasure ground.
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist