Descano Gardens in Los Angeles


Descano Gardens in Los Angeles

Written by Scott Messmoer

Descano Gardens is a rare island of flowers, gardens, trees and fishponds that lies within the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. Located only 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, Descano Gardens is a world unto itself. Descano Gardens is a 160-acre site established in 1936 by the founder of the Los Angeles Daily News, E. Manchester Boddy. Boddy loved the San Rafael Mountain site and built a 22-room mansion and quickly began planting flowers. Boddy had aqueducts built to bring in fresh mountain water for his expanding gardens, a system that still provides irrigation to the area. Boddy grew flowers and plants commercially until the early 1950s when the gardens were sold to Los Angeles County. Throughout his time owning Descano Gardens, Boddy's workers created dozens of hybrid roses and lilacs, which can be seen today. Descano Gardens is full of camellias, coast live oaks, iris, roses of all sizes and colors and even a miniature railroad. The International Rosarium is a five-acre garden reflecting 10 years of planting and planning. The rose garden is divided into 20 sections showing the variety of roses bred at Descano Gardens. The Japanese Tea House is surrounded by camellia flowers, which founder Boddy loved so much. The Iris Garden has 1,500 different examples of the white flower. Families can tour the Japanese Tea House, ride the small railroad or feed the Koi fish in one of the garden's ponds.

Descano Gardens Calendar of Events

Descano Gardens has an extensive calendar of cultural and botanical events throughout the year. Depending on when you visit Descano Gardens, there might be a model train show, flower care workshops or children's educational programs. Each April, Descano Gardens holds an Easter Egg hunt, the Rose Show and annual flower sale. Each May, the International Geranium Society Plant Show, Montrose African Violet Show and Glendale Chrysanthemum Plant Sale are held in Descano Gardens. This summer, Descano Gardens will be the location of nighttime concerts given by the Pasadena Pops, which will play Friday and Saturday nights until September.

Hours of Operation and Location

Descano Gardens is located at 1418 Descano Drive, La Canada. Descano Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., every day of the year except Christmas Day. Admission to the gardens is: adults, $5; seniors older than 62 and students, $3; children ages five to 12, $1; children younger than five years are admitted for free. Call to reserve group tours of the gardens. Tram tours of the gardens are $1.50. Descano Gardens has plenty of free parking on site.

For more information about Descano Gardens in Los Angeles, call 818-952-4401.

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