My wife and I followed up a visit to the Rose Bowl Flea Market with a trip to Descanso Gardens. Descanso Gardens is a “humbler” garden setting than Huntington Gardens or the Los Angeles Country Arboretrum. That means that it is smaller and that the admission is cheaper.
Descanso gardens was founded by E. Manchester Boddy, publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News, in the 1930′s. The land originally contained a large collection of natural California Coast live oak trees, which served as the “canvas” for Boddy’s gardening endeavors. The current garden collection consists of the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Oak Forest, Camellia Garden, California Garden, Iris Garden, and Lilac Garden. “Garden enthusiasts” suggest that the camellias, roses and the California native plants are the most impressive.
The Boddy mansion is located within the Descanso Garden grounds, and entrance to the mansion is free with your paid admission. The mansion is not too extensive. One of the notable stops include a visit to Boddy’s office, where you can read historical information along the walls and have a seat in one of a few comfy chairs. You eventually make your way to the kitchen, which looks equipped to provide food for an entire football team. The old Boddy garage is also available for viewing. The garage currently hosts a series of black and white flower photographs that comprise the Sturt Haaga Gallery. The side of the garage is covered with a brand new vertical garden, since horizontal gardens are so “last year”.
A series of movies have filmed at the gardens, including “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “Legally Blond”, and “Daredevil”. The tree house from the television “Land of the Lost” is supposedly located somewhere on the property. The Descanso Gardens greenhouse was used in a prominent scene in “Minority Report” and the Boddy mansion was used in that mediocre movie “Four Christmases”.
The gardens also contain an enchanted railroad. The railroad provides a view of the gardens for individuals who are not in the mood to take a walking tour, and provides entertainment for the children who can be coaxed into doing anything that involves “enchantment”.