The beautiful weather year round in Southern California means it’s always a perfect time to explore Descanso Gardens. Set on 150 acres, the rose and camellia gardens are highlights, but there are plenty of other flowers to see and things to do for the whole family.
History and Garden Highlights of Descanso
- Manchester Boddy purchased the land that would become Descanso Gardens in 1937. At the time, the land was filled with an oak forest. Boddy cleared the land to build a home and called it Rancho del Descanso. While the estate was being built, he planted thousands of camellias beside the oak trees surrounding the house.
The camellias that Boddy originally planted are now part of North America’s largest collection of camellias–more than 34,000 of the flowers grow on 20 acres in Descanso’s camellia garden. Some of the flowers reach up to 20 feet high.
One of the most popular areas at Descanso Gardens is the 5 acre International Rosarium filled with more than 3000 roses. The roses represent dozens of regions from around the world and are arranged in several theme gardens.
The Japanese Garden displays the spirit of the Far East. The Full Moon Tea House is a beautiful sight, with a blue tile roof imported from Japan. A Shinto bridge connects the tea house with the Minka, which resembles a Japanese farmhouse. A Japanese Garden Festival is held each year in the fall.
Events and Attractions at Descanso Gardens
Kids will love riding the Enchanted Railroad, which travels through a small section of the Descanso Gardens. The train is a 1/8 replica of a diesel train and brings visitors very close to many flowers and plants in the gardens. Tickets for a ride on the train are $3.
The house that E. Manchester Boddy built still sits on a hillside at Descanso Gardens. The house features a built-in music system and steel framing, which were quite advanced features in a home built in the late 1930’s. Walk through the house to catch a glimpse of the glamour that Boddy liked to surround himself with.
Descanso Gardens has many events throughout the year including a summer jazz series and festivals, which honor the flowers in bloom. Private events can also be held in several sections of the gardens. Horticultural and fitness classes are held throughout the year.
Descanso Gardens Visitor Information
Descanso Gardens is located in La Canada Flintridge, neighboring Pasadena, and approximately 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The gardens are open from Friday through Monday from 9am to 5pm. during the summer, hours are extended until 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. General admission is $8, and $3 for children. Plenty of free parking is available. A gift store is located near the main entrance.
If you love to take photographs, or have a stroll in a beautiful place, take some to time to visit this beautiful place. You’ll want to stop to “smell the roses” and you might just discover something beautiful and new at Descanso Gardens.