The aptly named Descanso Gardens (Descanso is Spanish for rest and relaxation) are 150 acres of heavenly flora and fauna located in La Cañada Flintridge. The gardens were nurtured and once owned by real estate magnate Elias Manchester Boddy. Boddy bought the undeveloped land in the late 1930s for his plans to build a new ranch house and home for him and his family.
Over the years Boddy took special care to foster the growth of his Camillia gardens which today hold the place of largest Camilla garden in North America. Boddy hired several known horticulturists to work at Descanso and would sell his Camellias to support the local cut flower industry. The best time to experience the Camellias is in the Winter season, but they’re in bloom all the way from early autumn through Spring.
Another highlight of the gardens in the Extensive Oak forest that blankets the region and provides shade for the Camellias. The Oaks have occupied this area for thousands of years and their acorns were main source of food for the Tongva Indians.
The original Boddy house is open to the public during the garden’s hours. It’s an interesting walk-through but not spectacular by any means.. Definitely worth checking out however, is the Sturt Haaga Gallery located adjacent to the Boddy house. With 3 rotating exhibits year-round the gallery provides quality are on the Descanso grounds.
Another fun activity at the gardens is the Enchanted Railroad. It sounds a bit cheesy, and definitely geared towards children, but the ride is well worth the extra $3 and we were very charmed by the experience. It loops around the gardens on a magical railroad ride, traveling over a bridge and nearby a stream. Do it!!
Open daily 9-5
Admission is $9, but only $6 with a student ID
Tickets for the Enchanted Railroad are $3
The Gardens are FREE the third Tuesday of every month!