ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY LYNNE TUCKER
Descanso Gardens is a unique Southern California landscape distinguished by its specialized botanic collections, historical significance, and rare natural beauty. Their mission is to practice exemplary stewardship of Descanso’s distinctive character and assets; offer people an experience close to nature; and cultivate understanding of the natural world and people’s place in it through inspiration, education and example.”
WHO THEY ARE
They are an urban retreat located 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, Descanso Gardens is a place of year-round natural beauty, with internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums as a museum of living collections, Descanso Gardens welcomes more than 500,000 visitors annually. The principal collections include California native plants and oak woodlands; one of the largest collections of camellias in the Western Hemisphere; a rose garden with specimens from all corners of the globe; and significant presentations of lilacs, maple trees, cherry trees and iris. Descanso Gardens has been designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society. The Gardens are operated by the Descanso Gardens Guild, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in a public-private partnership with Los Angeles County. Their annual budget of $6.4 million is funded by memberships, philanthropic gifts, fees and support from Los Angeles County.
Descanso Gardens is a story of plants and the people who loved them for their life-giving utility and their great natural beauty. While the tale unfolds over centuries, the connecting thread – from the tribal people who relied on the plentiful oaks for food and their way of life to the 20th century entrepreneur who sowed the seeds of a cultural institution – is a deep-seated love for this evocative and distinctive place. Its evolution into a botanic garden, open to the public and nationally accredited as a “museum of living collections,” is but the most recent chapter in the rich history of this landscape. Today Descanso Gardens remains an oasis of beauty, both rugged and refined. In its eloquent landscapes, vignettes and vistas we can experience firsthand moments in the epic story of humans’ relationships with the natural world and enjoy a refuge of stunning beauty.
1418 Descanso Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
To make sure they keep their staff and visitors safe, they have made some adjustments to how they operate. Now, all non-members MUST buy online tickets in advance. Members can enter without an advance ticket. No tickets will be sold at the garden.
When you visit, please
- Maintain social distance of 6 feet or more with staff and other visitors
- Wear a face covering
- Bring water (All drinking fountains are closed). Drinks can be consumed inside the garden.
- Enjoy any food in the courtyard or the picnic tables outside of the Visitor Center
- Get a ticket in advance if you are NOT a member
- Note that they will be a cashless establishment
Here are some other changes you will see:
- Hours have been added to allow for visits to be spread out over longer times (The gardens will be open daily from 9am–8pm. The member-only hour is 8am–9am)
- The entry is reconfigured to make social distancing easier
- Hand sanitizing stations can be found in the courtyard
- All staff and visitors will wear face coverings
- The Sturt Haaga Gallery, Boddy House, and Enchanted Railroad ate closed
- All drinking fountains are closed
- Restrooms will be cleaned every half hour
- There will be no programs or walks during this time. We will bring programming back as soon as it is safe.
- Wheelchair rental will not be available
- They will not be honoring reciprocal memberships
- The Kitchen at Descanso will be open for limited hours. You can purchase drinks, which can be taken into the garden, or food, which must be eaten in the picnic area or taken home.
Tickets for non-members are released weekly:
- Tickets from today through August 21 are available now (Free Tuesday on August 18 is sold out)
- August 22–28 tickets will be released at 10am on Tuesday, August 18
- August 29–September 4 tickets will be released at 10am on Tuesday, August 25
- September 5–11 tickets will be released at 10am on Tuesday, September 1
For more information visit www.descansogardens.org
Think Nature and Enjoy Their Gardens!