Camellias -- evergreen flowering shrubs from China and Japan -- were the passion of amateur gardener E. Manchester Boddy, who began planting them here in 1941. Today his 160-acre Descanso Gardens contain more than 100,000 camellias in more than 600 varieties, blooming under a canopy of California oak trees. The shrubs now share the limelight with a 9-acre International Rosarium, home to hundreds of varieties. This is a very relaxing place, with paths and streams that wind through the towering forest, bordering a lake, bird sanctuary, Japanese Garden & Tea House, and Boddy House art museum. Each season features different plants: daffodils, azaleas, tulips, and lilacs in the spring; chrysanthemums in the fall; and so on. Monthly art exhibits are held in the garden's hospitality house, and the Courtyard Café offers light meals daily from 10am to 3pm. Guided tram tours, which cost $3, run Tuesday through Friday at 1, 2, and 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1, 2, and 3pm. Picnicking is allowed in specified areas.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010