California: Los Angeles Gardens (Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens/ Descanso Gardens/ L.A. Arboretum)

It is January 13th and already our temperatures are in the upper 70s, much to the disdain of our friends living in the Midwest and the East Coast. It is hard to believe that just two weeks ago, we celebrated the New Year!

We are truly fortunate to live in a part of the country where we enjoy such mild weather and with that in mind, I wanted to introduce you to the various gardens in the Los Angeles area.  It won’t be long now before the ume (Japanese plum) blossoms begin to bloom followed by the sakura (cherry blossoms).  There will be several cherry blossom festivals held in the area to commemorate the occassion and it will be well attended by both California residents and out of town visitors.

Visitors to Los Angeles may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the area is home to several expansive and beautiful  gardens providing an oasis amongst the urban chaos.

The Chinese Garden

The Chinese Garden

Located in San Marino, the Botanical Gardens at the Huntington Library cover 120 acres and contain thirteen themed gardens including the Australian Garden, the Camellia Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Desert Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden and the Lily Ponds to name a few.

The Chinese Garden at Huntington

The Chinese Garden at Huntington

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden


The gardens are part of The Huntington Library which houses an extensive art collection and various illustrated manuscripts including the Gutenberg Bible.

1151 Oxford Rd · San Marino · (626) 405-2135


Reservations are not necessary to visit The Huntington. Tickets may be purchased at the time of your visit. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and groups.


Parking is free at The Huntington, and parking reservations are not necessary unless you are a school or tour group arriving by bus.

Free Day

Admission to The Huntington is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets.Hours on Free Day are 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Descanso Gardens lily pond and waterfall

Descanso Gardens lily pond and waterfall

Descanso Gardens, located in La Canada Flintridge, is a 150 acre botanical garden with over 40,000 camellia bushes. The property once belonged to the owner of the Los Angeles Daily News, E. Manchester Boddy. The site was ceded to Los Angeles County in 1953.





Japanese plum blossoms

Japanese plum blossoms



Cherry blossoms in bloom at Descanso Gardens

Cherry blossoms in bloom at Descanso Gardens

The county developed the gardens to include a Japanese tea house, a lilac garden and rosarium. The park also features the Descanso Gardens Enchanted Railroad, a 1/8 scale replica diesel train.

1418 Descanso Dr · La Canada Flintridge · (818) 949-4292


Descanso Gardens is open daily except for Christmas. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm (last entry is 4:30 pm). There is ample free parking.


General $9. Senior/Students $6. Children (5 to 12 years) $4. Guild members and children under 5 free.


Mar. 22, 2014

  • 9:00am — 4:00pm

Additional Dates

Mar. 23, 2014

Cherry Blossom Festival

Welcome springtime with this annual celebration of Japanese culture and the beautiful flowering trees in the landscape. Enjoy music, origami, food and guided garden walks. All activities free with admission.
CHERRY TREE SALE Both days | 10am – 4pm | Gift Shop Beautiful flowering cherry trees will be available for purchase. Get there early – these tend to sell out quickly!

CHERRY BLOSSOM WALK & TALK Both days | 11am, noon, 2 & 3pm | Center Circle Take a walking tour of the many flowering cherry trees in the Descanso Gardens landscape. ORIGAMI WITH YAMI YAMAUCHI Both days | 11am – 3pm | Japanese Garden Learn the traditional art of paper folding from an origami master.


Saturday | 1 – 3 pm | Under the Oaks Theater This popular band fuses Japanese traditional music with Western pop, for a sound uniquely its own.

CAMELLIA LOUNGE Both days | 11am – 3pm | Japanese Garden Purchase selections from Patina’s Japanese-inspired menu, including yakitori.

Waterfall at L.A. Arboretum

Waterfall at L.A. Arboretum

The L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, nestled into the hills near the San Gabriel Mountains offers 127 acres of trees and shrubs arranged by continent of origin. The property was once owned by Elias “Lucky” Baldwin, a prominent California businessman and investor.

Lily pond

Lily pond

In 1886, Baldwin constructed the Queen Anne Cottage and Coach Barn for his fourth wife, Lillie.  The cottage was restored in 1951-1953 and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Baldwin Queen Anne Cottage

The Baldwin Queen Anne Cottage

The arboretum is reported to be haunted. Visitors have claimed hearing moaning coming from the house as well as odd cooking smells.
Orchids blooming in the greenhouse

Orchids blooming in the greenhouse

The arboretum is also home to over 200 peacocks.  They are the descendants of the original birds imported by Baldwin from India in 1880.
301 N Baldwin Ave · Arcadia · (626) 821-4623


Adults $9.00
Students and Seniors $6.00
Children Ages 5-12 $4.00
Children under 5 free
Members free


9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., grounds close at 5:00 p.m.  The Arboretum opens at 8:00 am for members.

Please note that the grounds are closed on December 25th.


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