Descanso Gardens California

Descanso Gardens bloom almost year ’round

To preview other Botanical Gardens  in the West, go here

mission garden descanso gardens 550

Descanso Gardens in La Canada, California is not far from the Huntington Gardens and is among our favorites in California, in part because of its smaller size.  You can spend an hour or two and see most of the gardens.

Originally an estate, Descanso Gardens is famed for its large collection of camellias and roses. The camellias flower from December through April.  Then, as the camellias fade, lilacs come into bloom, followed by roses in a sunny part of the gardens. The flowers seem to be never-ending.  It is heavenly to breathe in the fragrance of the roses like those that surround the Mission Garden section of the rose garden, above.

At one end of the rose garden is a charming boxwood maze just the right size for children and at the other end, a bird and turtle watching station overlooking a large pond.

descanso gardens pink white roses 300The Descanso Gardens rose collection includes hundreds of specimens from around the world, including England, France, Japan, Ireland, and China.

Some sections of Descanso Gardens 80 acres are devoted to drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants and native plants of California.  Many plants from both these regions thrive in hot, dry climate conditions.

Trails, some paved, mostly not, wind through the oak woodlands where the camellia collection grows and blooms during late winter.  On a hot, sunny day to walk along the paths in the shade of old oak trees is incredibly refreshing.

Koi at Descanso Gardens


Bubbling streams and pools with koi fish are scattered throughout the gardens.  Benches nearby under shady trees are a haven from summer heat.


At the far end of the gardens, you will discover the Boddy House where the original owners lived  Paintings and ceramics by local artists are exhibited and for sale at an art gallery next to the Boddy House.

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japanese bridge descanso gardensAs you make your way around the gardens you will find a Japanese garden complete with a tea house.

And, not far away, a redwood grove and a small lilac garden. The lilacs are varieties suitable for the hot summers and mild winters of Southern California.

To see a photo preview of Descanso Gardens in Spring including the tulip and daffodil displays, go here.

After you explore the gardens, you can enjoy refreshment under an arbor near the entrance.  On weekends in the summer there is live entertainment and, quite often, special gardening events.  

For information about hours and days the Gardens are open, go here. There is a fee for entry to the gardens.

To preview other Botanical Gardens in the West, go here

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