Went for a picnic in the gardens but there’s no eating in the park… Sooooo… there goes that! So, after we ate… outside… we went on in… and so the post about Descanso Gardens begins…
Call me lazy if you wanna, but I totally recommend taking the tram tour. It’s how I learned all about the history of the gardens and how I managed to make it around the entire garden without passing out. In fact, I can’t imagine walking cause the hour-long tram tour was tiring enough! Plus: the tram was only $4 after the $8 entrance so it’s totally worth it…
Descanso Gardens has a fascinating history in that this 36,000 acre land started as the personal home of a man named E. Manchester Boddy who simply liked to garden (and to think, I was all excited about being able to keep my orchid alive on the porch, this man had 36,000 acres of living organisms)!
Boddy, the owner of the Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News paper (which I guess meant he was ballin’ back in those days), had all these requests to see his ranch. So one weekend in 1950, he opened to the public and 8,000 people showed up to his house. Neighbors got mad… Duh!.. but he tried again a couple years later after building a parking lot and well… the rest is history.
Descanso Gardens, still privately owned and funded, now has events and activities all year long but especially in the summer. Tai Chi classes, Mother’s Day brunch (biggest attendance day of the year with about 4,000 people), day camps for kids, summer concert series, etc.
While on the tram tour we stopped at the original Boddy House and the Sturt Haaga Gallery which is right across the street and is home to the “Dangerous Beauties” Exhibit. We also passed-through the rose and lily garden as well as the birds of paradise garden.
Pros: Natural beauty; reasonable entrances price; only about 30m out of the city; Tram tour is the best
Cons: Can’t eat inside the park and the picnic area is off in the corner away from anything worth looking at