Descanso Gardens a Patch of Paradise in an Otherwise Urban Jungle

Descanso Gardens invites visitors in with a detailed map of its property. Where to go first?!

Earlier this month we had the pleasure to head up and check out Descanso Gardens. Located in La Canada-Flintridge, we’d heard a lot about this spot from C’s mom over the years but we just hadn’t gotten over there yet. But one weekend morning C and I were left wondering what to do and where to go with T at the last-minute, and because of a blog post I’d recently read, Descanso Gardens came to mind. How’s that for a fertile imagination?!

The entrance at Descanso Gardens almost resembles a wheel's hub, with spokes of paths leading off in all directions through the property. Go get lost in its glory, RMT'ers!

T loved the koi pond at the entrance of Descanso Gardens. He and the other kids were finding fallen branches and pretending they were fishing in the pond. Yep, it was hard to get T to leave this spot!

Given our love of the Huntington Library and Gardens, we weren’t surprised that we liked Descanso Gardens almost the very second that we entered through its garden gates. Now mind you, Descanso Gardens isn’t as formally – what’s the word? – manicured as the Huntington, but it’s just about as lovely as a piece of land as you can find anywhere in the LA basin.

T takes off through Descanso Gardens. Yep, he found the sticks!

Plus, with a four-year-old in tow, we were happy it was a little more casual and carefree than its larger, more proper neighbor to the south. RMT’ers, that’s code for: Are your kids are talking a wee bit too loudly? Running a little too fast? That’s OK, outdoor voices and fast feet are welcome if not encouraged by most of what Descanso Gardens has to offer.

A train travels down this track... at Descanso Gardens.

Choo Choo! Take a train ride through Descanso Gardens. Tickets are sold individually, or for a small discount you can buy them in books of 10 for the real rail fans in your family.

I don't know... do you think T enjoyed the train at Descanso Gardens? Just one more train to check off his list, and I'm sure it's not the last time he'll ride this one!

Oh, and did we mention Descanso Gardens has its own train for visitors to ride through a portion of the property? So, yeah, T loved that, too. Tickets for the train are sold at the admissions office, and just as with general admission prices vary.

Located in the Southwest area of the Rose Garden and Pavilion, the Mission Fountain at Descanso Gardens invites visitors to take a break from their stroll and sit and enjoy the local mountain views.

T makes new friends while feeding birds and turtles at Descanso Gardens.

Turtles gobble up the breadcrumbs from generous visitors at Descanso Gardens.

I’m just going to share a few – OK, several – snapshots from our lovely day at Descanso Gardens. I think you can see by the photos that we had a great time and that T enjoyed himself immensely. Hey, given the garden’s endless, winding paths through lush gardens and trees (and sticks! and rocks! and turtles and birds to feed!), how could a kid not take an immediate liking to this place really?

Tree canopies like this one cover miles and miles of pathways throughout Descanso Gardens.

Spring arrived a little early this year at Descanso Gardens.

Hide out for a day at Descanso Gardens.

Lizards like this one were taking advantage of the early spring out at Descanso Gardens.

The entrance of the Japanese Garden and Tea House at Descanso Gardens.

The light fixtures inside of the Japanese Tea House at Descanso Gardens make for an illuminating experience.

The Japanese Garden and Tea House area at Descanso Gardens offers a peaceful respite for visitors.

While we visited Descanso Gardens, the Pacific Camellia Society was hosting their annual event. Thousands of camellias of all varietals, shapes, colors, and sizes competed for prize ribbons in dozens of categories. There seems to be a club or special event like this of some sort each weekend at Descanso Gardens, so be sure to check the calendar for your favorite flowers or food.

Coming up at Descanso Gardens this weekend is their annual TOMATOMANIA! event. If you love to grow your own tomatoes and are looking for some special heirloom varietals, this is the festival for you. You can get more information about Tomatomania! here.

I think T had a blast at Descanso Gardens, don't you?

Have a great Spring weekend, RMT’ers!