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gardens of Rancho del Descanso

Friday, June 14, 2013

I know I'm a long time getting back to my blog (just being lazy about it). So here are the Descanso Gardens pics. The best time of year to visit there is March or April as all their camellias, azaleas and gardenias are in bloom then. Being as how it's June we missed that wonderful sight. At Easter time they have a huge tulip bed and hide eggs for a hunt, they do plant a lot of annuals as well and have a large rose garden, so I can share those.

here is some history about it. The first Spanish Governor of California deeded this land a part of a vast 36,000 acre rancho to Corporal Jose Verdugo in 1784 for his loyal service. The property remained in the Verdugo family until 1869. Parcels of it were sold off until 1937 when the property was bought by E. Manchester Boddy. An entrepreneur, decorated veteran of WWI and the owner of The Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News. He named his estate Rancho del Descanso which translates to Ranch of Rest, and made it a working ranch while running his newspaper. I think it's now down to 155 acres, and has an outdoor theater, lake, several ponds, a small zoo, Japanese garden, a miniature train to ride on, a wedding venue area (I didn't get to see everything it has, need to go back on my own and not have to rush back to the bus because we were running late). Boddy built a two story 22 room, mansion. As the Japanese in the area were forced into internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he purchased 60,000 camellia plants (used for making tea, and florist boutonnieres and cut flowers from the Japanese nurseries in the area). By the early 1950's, his newspaper profits waned and his interests turned more strongly to horticulture. He tried to open the gardens up to the public at that time, but the neighbors complained about the traffic and people parking on their properties, so Boddy sold his ranch to the County of Los Angeles and he moved to San Diego. Local volunteers in 1957 formed the Descanso Gardens Guild to maintain and care for the the grounds, currently it is self maintaining by fund raisers and admissions tickets and has plays, lectures, demonstrations and concerts. Some groups come to the grounds to do Tai Chi and Yoga.

their wisteria was still in bloom

one version of vertical gardening

and this one is two stories high

you can see how they expalier the trees to make a hedge

they also have lots of hiking trails, I'd say plan to stay at least 3 hours to see almost everything, and do take the tram to get an idea where everything is located, lets get onto the colorful flowers and NO I DON"T KNOW what most of them are, some I do but you probably know them as well

oh and we came across this family

the entry to the rose gardens was covered with a HUGE portico

this weeping willow tree was so big I had to take a distant shot of it to get it all in the frame

and lots of ornamental things to look at too

these sculptures are almost 3 ft tall

look at this cute drinking fountain

and of course they had a gift shop/nursery

with bugs

and faeries

these spin

hope you enjoyed it as much as I did

first pond we see has lots of lilly pads

loaded with koi

and this fellow sunning himself

supposedly they have the ONLY female Gingko trees (which most of the rest of them in the US came from. They had berries on them so I took a pic

we took a tram ride to get the most out of our allotted time there

this rancho has it's own springs, and we crossed several bridges over little streams, to see the forrests of oaks, camellias etc.

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