Sunday, May 16, 2010

Descanso Gardens: Rest in the City

I have been wanting to visit Descanso Gardens since I saw a co-worker's, sister's wedding photos.

That was over five years ago and I hadn't made it, until today. Debbie and I, taking advantage of my last weekend house sitting in LA, ventured over to La Canada to wander around.

Ironically it is just as far from Culver City, where I was staying, to La Canada, as it would have been from Orange County. But that is neither here nor there.

For only $8, and free parking, you are given access to over 150 acres of garden delights. We stopped first for a late lunch at the outdoor cafe, catered by Patina. Good sandwich and salad fare. What is killer is the outdoor seating, set beneath a lovely pergola and beside a serene water feature. It was very relaxing and the set the tone for our visit.

Since neither of us had ever been there we should have taken the 50 minute tram tour for $4, but we were late and impatient, so we didn't. We just started walking.

Our first stop was in the five-acre Rosarium. It is breath-taking. The informal garden has over 1,200 varieties of roses and over 3,000 plants. Strolling through the gardens you feel like you're in someone's backyard. It is not the formal experience you have at The Huntington but instead you feel like you can run and play. Everywhere you turn there is a bench to sit and view the gardens, take in its beauty and relax.

From the roses we meandered through the Camellia Forest and Oak Forest, which are lush and green. It provided amazing shade and a few breezes to help us cool off. It was hot! There are lots of trails in and through this area for those who want to explore more and have a more strenuous hike.

Since we got there late we didn't get to see everything. Next time I want to make it to the Lilac, Iris and Japanese Gardens. We got lost in the rose garden for a few hours. Couldn't stop taking photos. I will definitely be back!

If you go remember that La Canada is hot! Bring sunscreen, a hat, good walking shoes and lots of water.

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